A day after the Congress lost an assembly bypoll held in Kerala, senior party leader V M Sudheeran on Friday blamed factionalism in the state unit for the poor showing and urged the “group leaders” to end their rivalry.
Sudheeran, who had quit as KPCC chief on health grounds a year ago, urged the leaders to “introspect their style of functioning” in view of the party’s ‘pathetic’ performance in the bypoll held in Chengannur Assembly constituency, which used to be a traditional Congress bastion.
The ruling LDF’s Saji Cheriyan won by a margin of 20,956 votes over his nearest Congress rival in the bypoll necessitated by the death of sitting member K K Ramachandran Nair (CPI-M) in January this year.
Hitting out at the style of functioning of the “group leaders”, he said instead of working for various factions led by them they should strive for strengthening the party.
“Party is important, organisation is important…not group. What is the relevance of the group, if party is weak. I appeal to all group leaders to withdraw from group activities and work unitedly to strengthen the Congress party in the state,” Sudheeran told reporters here.
He, however, did not name the group leaders, but merely said they were known to all and urged them to uphold the party’s interest over group considerations.
During his stint as KPCC chief, he had faced strident opposition from the two major factions — one led by senior leader Oommen Chandy and other by Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala.
“Congress is the only organisation which can fulfil ambitions of all sections in the state. They should have an approach with a broad mindset to strengthen the party,” Sudheeran said.
He said all Congress leaders should fulfil the responsibility of strengthening the hands of party chief Rahul Gandhi in his fight against the BJP government at the Centre by uniting all “secular democratic” forces in the country.
Congress veteran A K Antony had yesterday said the party will examine the reasons for the defeat and take corrective steps.
The main reason for the drubbing, he said was due to the “naked communal card played by the the Marxist party in the constituency,” he had said.