The Congress appointed party MP K Sudhakaran as the president of its Kerala unit on Tuesday. The party also appointed three working presidents — K Suresh, P T Thomas and T Siddique — in the revamped Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
“The Congress president has appointed K Sudhakaran, MP, as the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect. “The Congress president has also appointed Kodikkunnil Suresh, MP, P T Thomas, MLA, and T Siddique, MLA, as working presidents of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee,” a statement issued by the party said.
It said the party appreciates the contributions of outgoing PCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and outgoing working president K V Thomas. Sudhakaran is the party’s Lok Sabha MP from Kannur, while Suresh represents the Congress in the Lower House of Parliament from the Mavelikkara (SC) constituency.
Representing Kannur constituency in the Lok Sabha for the second time, he was also a four-time MLA and served as a minister in the A K Antony cabinet during the 2001-2004 period. A firebrand leader and an arch critic of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Sudhakaran has been known as the party’s face in Kannur, a traditional Left fortress.
Known for his sharp speeches and daring personality, he has a strong follower base in north Kerala especially in the politically volatile Kannur. He is generally considered as one of the few Congress leaders who are strong enough to take on the ruling CPI(M) in their citadel.
Soon after the party-led UDF suffered a mauling in the Assembly polls from the ruling LDF and settled with just 41 seats, there had been a clamour for leadership change in the state unit of the Congress. When vibrant leader V D Satheesan was appointed as the new legislative party leader last month, it was almost certain that there would be a change in the KPCC chief post also.
Since there were reports that Ramachandran had expressed his willingness to quit as KPCC chief, a section of leaders and activists had flooded the Congress high command with requests to give Sudhakaran a chance to revive the grand old party in the state. No other major names had been cropped up for the post as the leaders of the factions including Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala reportedly did not make any suggestion.
After Satheesan, Sudhakaran’s appointment was also generally viewed as a strong message from the party high command to the leaders and workers in the state to rise above group equations. Meanwhile, Sudhakaran told reporters here that Rahul Gandhi informed him about the new responsibility over the phone.
Stating that he would try all possible ways to revive the party in the state and regain the confidence of cadres, the leader said he is entrusted with the big responsibility of bringing back the Congress to its erstwhile organisational set up. “I will try to take everyone in the party together and seek their support and cooperation to revive the party. The Congress will surely regain its strength and will make a strong comeback in the state,” he added.