Chacko was never ‘leader in Kerala’

Veteran Congress leader P.C. Chacko on Wednesday announced his decision to quit the Congress stating that it “was difficult to be a Congress leader in Kerala as it is in the grips of faction leaders”.

Chacko, considered close to former party chief Rahul Gandhi, was also critical about the national leadership of his party and vouched that the points raised by the G-23 group led by the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad, have been right.

The 74-year-old Chacko, in his hey days, in the state politics was close to A.K. Antony and Oommen Chandy. When these leaders split the Congress party soon after the Emergency period, he went with them and won his only State Assembly elections in the 1980 polls when the Antony, Chandy combine was an ally of the then CPI-M-led political front and became State Industries Minister in the 1980 E.K.Nayanar cabinet.

However, when Antony and Chandy returned to the Congress party under Indira Gandhi in the early 1980s, but Chacko stayed in the company of Sharad Pawar for some more time and later returned to the Congress party.

From 1991 to 1999 he won three Lok Sabha polls as a Congress man from Kerala and after his loss in the 1999 polls he went into political hibernation.

He returned to contest the 2009 Lok Sabha polls which he won from Thrissur.

However, in the 2014 polls Chacko played truant and using his big influence in the party high command swapped his Thrissur seat with Chalakudy Congress Lok Sabha member Dhanapalan, who with much reluctance accepted it and at the end when votes was counted the Congress party lost both the seats.

Chacko, due to his long stints in Delhi, had practically little following in Kerala and since his 2014 loss, he lost his grip in Delhi and even though he was put in a few committees’ in the party in Kerala, with hardly any support for him, he found the going tough.

On expected lines, none of the top brass in state politics, Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and Mullapally Ramachandran, who all were in Delhi when the news of Chacko quitting from the party came, none of them reacted to it, despite a volley of questions to these leaders.

The only person who reacted on his quitting was his contemporary V.M. Sudheeran, a former party president, state minister and Lok Sabha member who said he is deeply saddened hearing the news and he does not have anything to say.

The only solace for the Congress party in Kerala, which goes to the polls on April 6, is Chacko’s statement that he has no interest towards the BJP or to Sharad Pawar’s party.