In Kerala, many in Congress blame leadership for debacle

Several Congress leaders have openly criticised the party top leadership in the wake of the drubbing in the Kerala Assembly election. State Congress vice-president V D Satheesan said the soft approach towards corruption and BJP’s communalism had proved fatal for the party.

“When I pointed out the mistakes of the government at party forums, I was insulted. The government should understand that people are watching everything. Controversial decisions taken towards the end of the term proved costly. The decisions were revoked, but people had doubts about why such orders came at the last moment,” said Satheesan, who won from Paravoor seat.

Senior leader and former excise minister K Babu, who lost his fifth contest, said the controversy over his candidature created a negative impression. “I don’t blame Chandy’s leadership for the poor show. His mass support should not be belittled,” added Babu, a Chandy loyalist.

Former KPCC president K Muraleedharan, who emerged winner in a contest against the CPM and BJP, said the party required a major surgery to recover from the defeat. The party failed in opposing the Hindutva agenda, and it is not proper to blame a single leader for the debacle, said Muraleedharan.

Muraleedharan’s sister Padmaja Venugopal, who lost in Thrissur seat, alleged she was backstabbed by senior leaders. “The Congress does not have a strong leadership in Thrissur. Senior leaders did not help in any manner. I will move a formal complaint with the KPCC,” she said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who put in his papers on Friday, claimed his government did not face any anti-incumbency. “Fourteen ministers have won. Factionalism triggered strong undercurrents against UDF candidates. To prevent the victory of the BJP, voters supported candidates who had better chances of winning. Hence, LDF got more support,” said Chandy.

KPCC president V M Sudheeran, who has also been blamed for the party’s debacle, said the party would review the election results on Monday.