Kerala Congress leadership faces flak for poll defeat

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 4 (IANS) After its electoral mauling, the top leadership of the Congress party in Kerala came under fire from many speakers on Saturday, the first day of its two-day party stock taking meet here.

In the meeting, held at the capital city suburbs near Neyyar Dam, State Congress President V.M. Sudheeran drew the ire of most speakers.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) suffered a huge defeat in the May 16 elections and managed to win just 47 seats in the 140-member Kerala Assembly.

The Congress party which contested 87 seats could win just 22 and in the bargain several of its seasoned leaders, including two ministers, registered defeat.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and former Defence Minister A.K. Antony were among others who were criticised.

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State party vice president and senior legislator V.D. Satheeshan breathed fire at Sudheeran and demanded that there should be a change in the leadership.

Satheesan said the leadership should take the responsibility for the humiliating defeat, and claimed the main reasons for the defeat were the flawed liquor policy and the suspicious decisions taken by the cabinet at the fag end of its tenure.

Another party vice-president M.M. Hassan who lost badly said he is prepared to step down from the party post and it should be emulated by others too.

He also came down heavily on Sudheeran and the stand he took on various issues, which came as shock to the government and the people at large.

Another speaker blamed Antony for not rising to the occasion.

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Many are of the view that ever since Sudheeran was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi to be the state party president in February 2014, things in the party became worse.

While Chandy has already taken moral responsibility for the defeat, Sudheeran has said there is no reason for him to step down.

The meeting will end on Sunday.



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