Congressman VD Satheesan to be opposition leader in Kerala
The Congress party on Saturday chose five-time lawmaker VD Satheesan as opposition leader in Kerala. Satheesan will become the leader of the opposition once the Congress party delivers a letter to the pro-mandate president informing him of the party’s decision.
Paravur’s selection of members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) ends weeks of uncertainty over who will lead the congressional party in the assembly and signals an overhaul.
“With the rise of Satheesan, a new generation of leaders is emerging; leaders above Satheesan will slowly disappear, ”political analyst A Jayashankar said.
Satheesan will lead the 41 UDF members in the assembly. The UDF, in addition to the Congress Party, includes the Muslim League of Indian Union (IUML), the Marxist Revolutionary Party (RMP), a separatist faction of the CPI (M), the Kerala Nationalist Congress (NCK), a dissident group of the NCP and a group of regional parties.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) suffered a crushing defeat in the recently concluded parliamentary elections despite a heated campaign. Kerala was the only state where the party hoped to return to power. However, a massive surge in favor of the ruling LDF helped it defeat the anti-titularist and rewrite history. The Kerala electorate alternated between the UDF and the LDF for more than four decades.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) won 99 of the 140 seats.
According to reports, incumbent opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister Oommen Chandy opposed the decision to appoint Satheesan. Chandy and Chennithala are at the head of rival factions of the Congress Party in Kerala. And their alleged stance to block the rise of Satheesan has been criticized by supporters in Congress.
Satheesan and Chennithala were the pioneers of the opposition leader’s position. The names of top congressional leader PT Thomas and former minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan also circled. What worked for Satheesan was the support of lawmakers from both factions, especially young MPs. Much of Kerala’s congressional leaders and supporters have called for an overhaul of the organization after the congressional beating. All observers from the Indian Congress Commission (AICC) led by Mallikarjun Kharge had arrived in Kerala after the elections. They held one-on-one meetings with legislators.
“The congressional workers are dejected. The general feeling is that a change of leadership could revive the party. Satsheesan’s rise gives the cadres hope. He is a good parliamentarian and completely secular. You cannot. see the image of another congressional leader in any poster in his constituency that shows his confidence, ”A Jayashankar said.
Satheesan was defeated in the first assembly election he contested in 1996. However, he won on his second attempt in 2001 and has never lost an election since then. He was Chairman of the Kerala Assembly Public Accounts Committee during his last term.
Chennithala congratulated Satheesan in a tweet. Satheesan was part of the Chennithalas faction but has tried to carve out a niche for himself over the years. He had conducted a series of interviews with prominent figures last year, such as Rahul Gandhi. Satheesan cut his teeth in politics as a student activist; he was a member of the board of the National Union of Students (NSU). Although he is one of the most articulate faces of Congress in the assembly, he was not considered for a ministerial post in the UDF government of 2011.
Other changes may be on the way, including a new chairman for the Kerala Unity of the Congress party and an organizer for the UDF.
Political observers have said that a simple change of leadership cannot change the fortunes of the Congress party. Anything less than a complete overhaul could revive the party.
“The rise of Satheesan in itself is not going to help the party. If the Congress wants to reinvent itself, it must opt for an overhaul from the stand level. There are no congresses in the villages. There should be. at least ten members of Congress in each booth who are ready to work day and night for the party. Without it, the current change will be a showcase, “said J Prabhash, former pro-vice chancellor of the University of Kerala and political analyst.
“Only strong leaders have succeeded electorally in the recent past, be it Stalin, Jagan Mohan Reddy or Mamata Banerjee. Today is the era of strong leaders. Congress needs strong leaders at all levels who can take charge. the CPI (M). “
Chennithala had made a name for himself as an effective leader of the opposition by keeping the government on its toes. Its interventions had forced the government to reverse its decisions more than once. But his work in the assembly did not translate into public support for the UDF. Some blamed him on the complacency of the Congress party and the lack of support for Chennithala from the party.
“This is due to the Congress culture of not rallying behind a single leader unlike the CPI (M). Chennithala picked up the whole issue towards the end of Pinarayi Vijayan’s first term. Congress is not working hard as an opposition they believe they can come. When AK Antony was the leader of the opposition, he did not organize a single demonstration. But CPI (M) cadres will be in the streets every day when they are out of power Prabhash said.
The fact that Chennithala had become a prime target for trolls supporting LDF didn’t help matters either.
“There was a pro mandate this time around in the election. No congressional leader could have stopped Pinarayi Vijayan from returning to power. Congress needed a scapegoat, and unfortunately Chennithala fell victim,” Jayashankar said.