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Kerala Congress gets new chief: Modi gift

Kochi, Feb 11 (): Congress high command decided to appoint V M Sudheeran as president of Kerala unit. The appointment goes against the wishes of CM Oomen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh who represent two factions in the party.

Politically, this move is to negate the Modi move yesterday to bring on board the Ezhava community leader Natesan as Sudheeran too comes from the same community. Many feel that Rahul was influenced by Antony who told him to take Sudheeran even though the two factions have put up another name. The neutrality is needed as the LS candidate list has to be selected with President’s consent.

Sudheeran who was a four-time Congress MLA and also MP lost in the 2004 elections. Since then he has been away from electoral politics. He was a known Antony loyalist and in recent times he has distanced himself from the group and was seen in a new role as a crusader against the misdeeds of his party led ministry.

Oomen Chandy and Ramesh wanted G Karthikeyan the current speaker who is not part of any group to be president. This move was vetoed by Rahul who summoned Sudheeran to Delhi a few days ago and informed him about the decision, which was officially notified yesterday.

The new Congress president will have to drop the crusader role and strike a balance. Congress MLA and son of Late Karunakaran who has a faction in the party known as I group welcomed the decision but pointed out henceforth the new president can only voice the party stance and not his own views.

Sudheeran was in direct confrontation with CM over the airport in Aranmula. Sudheeran slammed the ministry for giving sanction by overlooking environmental concerns. It has to be seen whether the new appointment will create more friction within the party as the two groups could queer the pitch and rigidity in approach to issues by Sudheeran has worked against him in the past.