Congress to elect Kerala chief through organisational poll

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Thiruvananthapuram, March 16 (IANS) After nearly three decades, the Congress will elect the new President of its Kerala unit through organisational polls which might take some time, party sources said on Thursday.

Vayalar Ravi was the last state unit chief to be elected through polls in 1991 when he defeated A.K. Antony. Since then, all state unit Presidents have been nominated by the party high command in New Delhi.

The last unit chief, V.M. Sudheeran, stepped down on March 10 citing health issues.

The party high command in all probability would appoint an interim President, sources told IANS.

Being the senior-most Vice President, M.M. Hassan may be named the interim President.

The decision comes after former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s strong opposition to the nomination of office-bearers by the party high command. Chandy, since the electoral reverse suffered by the party in the May 2016 assembly polls, has declined to take any post in the party without organisational polls.

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“Chandy was the right choice to lead the party. But he is determined that he will not take up the post as he has been demanding organisational polls. He has been saying that the practice of the party high command nominating office-bearers has failed,” said a Congress leader on the condition of anonymity.

Since Chandy declined to take up any position — including the post of the Leader of Opposition — after the party’s defeat in assembly elections last year, the post went to former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President Ramesh Chennithala.

Since then, the Kerala unit of the Congress has been witnessing a factional feud between Chandy and Chennithala.

–IANS

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