In its ongoing efforts to revive the party’s fortunes in Kerala, the Congress high command has appointed party veteran K Sudhakaran, known for being a long-time CPI(M) baiter, as the new president of the state party unit.
Manorama Online reported that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had made the announcement to Sudhakaran over the phone on Tuesday (June 8). Mullapally Ramachandran had resigned as president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), after the party’s debacle in the April 6 Assembly polls.
The 73-year-old Sudhakaran is a four-time legislator and is presently in his second term as Lok Sabha member from Kannur – a CPI-M stronghold. According to media reports, this appointment comes after many weeks of deliberation between the AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, Tariq Anwar and the party MLA and MPs.
An arch-rival of Kerala CM Pinayari Vijayan, Sudhakaran is famous for taking on the CPI (M) head on and has had many run-ins with them in the past. The battle between the two are reportedly the stuff of legends. In fact, before the Assembly elections, Sudhakar had stirred up a controversy by calling Vijayan a “toddy tapper’s son”.
His misogynistic statements and his infamous comment that Congress party leaders may go to the BJP if the party cannot come to power in Kerala created heartburn within the party and it was used by the Left in their campaigns to discredit the Congress.
Though, his controversial image may be at odds with the grand old party, the Congress needs him to boost the sagging morale of the party workers. The party’s fortunes are at its lowest ebb as its grassroots workers seem to have disappeared. According to political observers, “if the party has to at least put up a fight, then there is none better than Sudhakaran, who can really pump in the much needed adrenalin to motivate the cadres”, said a report in Business Standard.
Secondly, the Congress central command felt that a personality like him would be able to rein in the formidable factions in the party led by Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala etc.
Sudhakaran was the forest minister in A Anthony-led cabinet. In 2009, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kannur but was defeated in 2014. He was back in the 2019 elections winning with a margin of nearly 1 lakh votes.