Congress leader joins CPM in Kerala
A second senior Congress leader has quit the party in Kerala and joined the CPM in less than two weeks due to differences over organisational restructuring helmed by a new set of leaders.
State Congress general secretary K.P. Anil Kumar resigned from the party on Tuesday and immediately joined the CPM where he was welcomed by senior leaders. He is the second Congressman to turn red after P.S. Prashanth, who was the party’s losing candidate in the recent Assembly polls, joined the CPM on September 3. The Congress quickly sacked Kumar from the party.
The latest trend is one that precludes the usual practice of moving to a Left ally like the Nationalist Congress Party instead of making a direct entry to the CPM. Party veteran P.C. Chacko who had donned national roles for several years and former state Mahila Congress president Lathika Subhash had resigned ahead of the April state polls. While Lathika contested the polls as an Independent after being denied a ticket before joining the NCP, Chacko worked for the LDF in the election that gave a rare second consecutive term for the alliance.
Like Prashanth, Kumar too blamed the new leadership for ignoring him while re-jigging the party organisation. The Congress had earlier suspended both of them for their scathing criticism of the appointment of district party chiefs that had opened a can of worms with even veterans such as Oomen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala expressing displeasure over the changes made by state president K. Sudhakaran.
“I am ending my 43-year career with Congress that started when I was in Class 4 since the new leadership is targeting leaders like me. He didn’t even revoke my suspension even after I gave an explanation,” he said, terming Sudhakaran as a dictator.
“Sudhakaran’s dictatorial grip on the party is like that of the Taliban. I don’t want to die by getting stabbed in the back,” he said.
Kumar said he was joining the CPM since “it is a truly secular party”.
A.V. Gopinath was the other senior leader who resigned in the last two weeks.
But unlike Prashanth and Kumar, Gopinath who is an influential leader from Palakkad has yet to take a call on joining any party.
While heading to the AKG Centre, the state headquarters of CPM, Kumar told reporters that he was making the move without any conditions. “I will work (with the CPM) unconditionally, with dignity and holding aloft my self respect.”
He was received by politburo members Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and S.R. Ramachandran Pillai who later held a closed-door discussion with the new entrant.
Balakrishnan told reporters that the CPM was not in the business of luring leaders from other parties. “We are not luring anyone. He (Kumar) took the decision without our intervention and decided to join us unconditionally,” he said.
To a question on whether the incoming leaders have now found a direct route to join the CPM, unlike Chacko and Lathika, Balakrishnan recalled several others had made similar moves to his party.
“AICC member Peelipose Thomas, former district Congress presidents T.K. Hamza and Abdul Khader had joined us directly in the past,” he pointed out alluding to the entrants a few decades ago.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said nothing could be done when someone decides to leave the party. “The Congress is not just a crowd. It is a major institution. So if someone is leaving us we can’t say anything. That is their decision (to leave),” he told reporters on the latest exit.
He said the explanations provided by both Kumar and Prashanth were not satisfactory.
“The KPCC president said their explanations were not satisfactory,” he said, responding to a query on why the party failed to revoke their suspension.