Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran has seemingly found himself stranded in a political minefield by remarking that India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, tolerated “communal fascists” to advance the larger interest of establishing a politically diverse, stable and vibrant democratic polity.
An embattled Mr. Sudhakaran, pilloried by opponents and allies alike, has inadvertently isolated himself in the party and the United Democratic Front (UDF) with Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan and K. Muraleedharan, MP, among other leaders, including IUML functionaries taking strong exception to his words.
Mr. Sudhakaran’s earlier disclosure that Congress workers had protected RSS branches against CPI(M) violence in Kannur has also returned to haunt him.
Congress leaders privately accused Mr. Sudhakaran of playing into the hands of the CPI(M), which has repeatedly accused the Congress of towing a soft-Hindutva line. The AICC has sought an explanation from Mr. Sudhakaran.
It has also not helped Mr. Sudhakaran that the IUML has gone ballistic over his “overt RSS sympathy”. The party will likely raise the issue in the next UDF leadership meeting.
CPI(M) State secretary M. V. Govindan waded into the controversy and found a common cause with the IUML in a bid to rattle the UDF. He dared UDF constituents to clarify their position on the KPCC president’s “pro-RSS” political line.
The controversial remarks came at an organisationally inopportune time for Mr. Sudhakaran.
The AICC is poised to restructure Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs), and rumours abounded that the controversy has cast a cloud on Mr. Sudhakaran’s prospect of being renominated as KPCC president.
It has also not augured well for Mr. Sudhakaran that the BJP State president K. Surendran quickly capitalised on the controversy by ominously alleging that more Congress leaders shared the KPCC president’s “pro-BJP” mindset.
Congress has sensed an alarming twin-pronged attack by the CPI(M) and the BJP to destabilise the UDF. It has moved to close ranks against the hostile forays by attempting to placate the IUML and other aggrieved UDF allies.
In New Delhi, Mr. Anwar said the KPCC president had admitted to a “slip of the tongue”. AICC general secretary (organisation), K. C. Venugopal, said the matter had ended with Mr. Sudhakaran publicly regretting the tactless remark. However, the embers of the controversy seemed unlikely to die anytime soon.