Will Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran succeed where former PCC chief V M Sudheeraan failed? That is the question agitating the minds of lakhs of Con gress activists in Kerala.

The question has acquired added resonance in the backdrop of efforts to complete the much-delayed reorganization of the Congress in Kerala. The rejig of the party organisation has been stalled by internecine groupism which has been the bane of the party in the State.

The two dominant groups in the party – the A group and the I group – led by former chief minister Oommen Chandy and present leader of the Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala respectively, are the villains of the piece. That is the prevailing perception.

It may be mentioned that the KPCC president is vehemently opposed to the group fight that is eating into the vitals of the party. Mullappally is on record that he will be forced to drastically cut the ‘jumbo list’ prepared in connection with the reorganization exercise. Mullappally is keen on having a 15-member committee of Congress office-bearers. But the question is: will the group managers allow him to have his way?

If the past record of the group leaders is anything to go b y, that is unlikely to happen. In fact, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has sent the ‘jumbo list’ back to the KPCC with a clear directive that the list be drastically pruned in the State itself.

The Sonia fiat has put the KPCC president in a difficult position. Although he wants to cut the list, he is not in a position to do so, given the vice-like grip the group leaders have on the party organization. Congress activists are watching with bated breath. Will Mullappally will go ahead to risk a confrontation with the group managers? If he decides to take on Chandy and Chennithala head on, then it will lead to an open tussle.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader from the State and a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), P C Chacko has squarely blamed Oommen Chandy and Chennithala for the inordinate delay in reorganising the Congress in Kerala.

The office-bearers list acquired ‘elephantine proportions’ because the two group leaders packed the list with their loyalists and supporters. In the process, many a deserving leader has been denied a place to represent the party. The Congress High Command is learnt to be against the list being packed with MLAs and MPs. There is also strong opposition to leaders above 75 years of age being included in the list.

But the problem is: most of the leaders who are on the list belong to the above-mentioned categories. Also, majority of them are in because they belong either to the Chandy group or the Chennithala group. Since Sonia Gandhi has tossed the ball back in the court of the KPCC, Mullappaly has his task cut out. All eyes are, therefore, rivetted on the KPCC president, who is known as a no-nonsense leader with an impeccable reputation for integrity and honesty. Will he cut the Gordion Knot? Or will he play it safe? The answer lies in the womb of time. And on that will depend the future health of the Congress in Kerala.

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