Ripples in political scenario

The emergence of a ginger group in the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front or UDF has created ripples in the bi-polar political scene in the state.

By T K Devasia (Kerala Buzz)

Published: Sat 25 Aug 2012, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:53 AM

Even though the six young legislators from different parties have come together against encroachments in the ecologically fragile Nelliyampathy region in Palghat district, their potential to alter the political equations in the state cannot be ignored.

The group led by Congress legislators V D Satheeshan and T N Prathapan, who are in fact aggrieved by the denial of ministerial berths in the Oommen Chandy government, has already taken an institutional form in the name of “green politics”.

The group’s first campaign itself has led to a crack in the ruling coalition in the form of resignation of M M Hassan from the sub-committee the UDF set up to study the encroachments in Nelliyampathy. Hassan viewed the group’s visit to Nelliyampathy after the panel completed its visit an act of defiance against the UDF and termed it “greedy politics”.

However, Hassan’s dissent did not cut ice with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee or KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, who said that the MLAs had undertaken the mission with his permission. Ramesh has cracked a whip against public statements on Nelliyampathy issue by Congress leaders in the wake of the wordy duel between Hassan and his supporters and the members of the ginger group.

Political observers feel that the Congress chief has been soft on the ginger group as they have a common cause against the chief minister. Though Ramesh, a strong contender for the chief ministership, has repeatedly affirmed his support to Chandy, he is trying to build his group.

The current rumblings in the party over the revamp of the party organisation are an indication of the growing dissidence in the party over alleged attempt by leaders of the two dominant groups to apportion the positions in the party among their supporters.

Senior leaders like VM Sudheeran, who is not aligned to either group in the Congress, and K Muralidharan, who has abdicated group politics following his suspension from the Congress, have already come out against this. Sudheeran has called for a review of the list of office bearers the two have prepared for submission to the Congress high command, which had taken a strong stand against group politics after the party witnessed humiliating defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha and 2006 Assembly elections.

Such groups in the past have altered power equations within the UDF.

The Congress high command has in fact viewed the emergence of the new group under Satheeshan seriously. The bitter battle he fought for his survival not only saw the UDF drawing a blank in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections and the subsequent end of the A K Antony dispensation beside its loss of power in 2006. How the current dissidence impact the Chandy government, which came to power in the April 2011 election with a wafer thin majority, has to be waited and seen.

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