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All eyes on Congress after its defeat in Kerala



Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo: IANS)

With Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan scripting a new political history in Kerala by becoming the first sitting government to retain power, all eyes are on the badly hit Congress, which leads the United Democratic Front, as never before has such a thing happened in the state.

In the 2016 Assembly polls the UDF had won 47 and the Congress 22 seats, but in the results that came out on Sunday the UDF tally sunk to 41 and the Congress to 21.

State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran when asked if he would resign after taking the moral responsibility of the defeat, said, “I will definitely come back to you after going through what actually happened.”

Today with the scenario looking bleak for the Congress, as already five years have passed without power and now will have to wait another five years on the sidelines, it could well be a period of test for the party right from its top leaders and grassroots workers.

A media critic said that it is doubtful if the fireworks in the Congress will continue this time also, which has always washed its dirty linen in the public. “The party high command saw through that they need not bank on just one leader as the star campaigner and it was their move to draft in Oommen Chandy, the last of the Congress leaders who has a pan Kerala acceptance as the one to oversee the elections to be assisted by Ramachandran and also the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. The campaign and the candidate selection was jointly seen by the trio,” said the critic.

With all the three having a collective responsibility, it’s unlikely that any one of them will be held responsible and all that remains to be seen is with Chandy holding no post, will Ramachandran and Chennithala go on their own.

If that happens, then one can expect fireworks as it could well be a generation change that will happen in the Congress party, as there are a few contenders from the second line leaders eyeing posts, to take forward the party and it includes former State Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, veteran party legislators V.D. Sateeshan and P.T.Thomas.

Then it remains to be seen if they will go for young turks like P.C. Vishnunath and even Shafi Parambil, who was given a fright till the last moment by Metroman E. Sreedharan.

“If the Congress party needs to get back to its position, the need of the hour is to stop thrusting leaders from the top to all party posts, which has been happening for the past over three decades. The party should immediately go in for electing leaders through the ballot, if not then there is not going to be any hope for the party,” added the critic.

So at the moment, all eyes are on the upcoming meeting of the Congress and also the UDF and it remains to be seen if there will be a demand for a generation change and if it happens then it would be curtains for veterans like Chandy, Ramachandran and Chennithala.

But the silver lining for these veterans are the allies of the Congress, especially the second biggest ally — the Indian Union Muslim League. The IUML’s seasoned veterans like P.K. Kunhalikutty, M.K. Muneer may not be keen to play second fiddle to young turks in the Congress, so Chennithala might get a second life.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Sachin Pilot: Ajay Maken




Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has spoken to Sachin Pilot, party leader Ajay Maken said this on Friday dispelling rumours that ‘no leader was engaging with Pilot’.

Sources have said that party interim President Sonia Gandhi ‘is likely to intervene’ to resolve the deadlock between the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot.

Ajay Maken Congress General Secretary In-charge of Rajasthan said, “Priyanka Gandhiji and I have spoken to Sachin Pilotji. As he is senior leader of the party and asset, so it’s impossible if he seeks appointment he will be denied, K.C. Venugopal has also spoken to him.”

The MLAs and the Pilot camp in particular have been pressurizing the Congress leadership for cabinet expansion and appointments in board and corporations in Rajasthan. They allege all this is being stalled by the Chief Minister’s camp.

Pilot was in Delhi last week and even toured Uttarakhand to meet his supporters where he attacked the BJP.

Maken had said last week, “Vacant positions in the cabinet, boards and commissions would be filled soon and we are in talks with all.”

He said that all other pending issues will also be taken up.

When asked if senior party leader Sachin Pilot is angry, the former Union Minister said, “I am speaking to Pilotji on a regular basis. If he would have been angry, he would not be speaking to me.”

Pilot has raked up the issue of non-resolution of commitments made to him.

“It has now been 10 months. I was given to understand that there would be swift action by the committee, but now half of the term is done, and those issues haven’t been resolved. It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard,” Pilot had said.

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Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin meets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul




Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday met Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi here for the first time after the Assembly poll results were declared on May 2.

Stalin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The DMK leader along with his wife arrived at the residence of Sonia Gandhi on Friday morning at 10 Janpath.

During the meeting, Rahul Gandhi was also present.

The meeting lasted for over 40 minutes.

Party sources said that the leaders discussed several issues for the development of the state.

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi and I had the pleasure of meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Durgavathy Stalin earlier today. We will keep working with the DMK to build a strong and prosperous state for the Tamil people.”

The Congress had contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in alliance with the DMK.

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Former TDP MLA Philip C. Tocher joins YSRCP




Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Christian minority leader Philip C. Tocher has joined Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

Tocher joined YSRCP in the presence of party founder and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday at his camp office.

The former MLA was accompanied by YSRCP MLC Lella Appi Reddy and party leaders Kathera Suresh and Kathera Henry Christina.

Back in January, Tocher resigned from the TDP, accusing party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu for his remarks on the Christian community.

He was with TDP since its inception in 1983 and went on to be nominated as the Anglo-Indian MLA during the TDP regime from 2014 to 2019.

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