Tempers ran high at the meeting of Political Affairs Committee of Congress' Kerala unit in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday over the manner in which a Rajya Sabha seat which should have gone to the party was "gifted" to the Kerala Congress-Mani which returned to the Congress-led UDF after nearly two years.
The most vocal in the meeting turned out to be outgoing Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien, who was aiming for a fourth successive term in the upper house, but accused former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of scuttling his chances.
The lone seat which the Congress could have won, based on its strength in the assembly, was handed over to Kerala Congress-Mani and the ire of Kurien and a section of the committee was that this issue was not discussed in the committee, but Chandy, along with Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and state party president MM Hassan themselves decided about it and briefed Congress President Rahul Gandhi about the need for gifting it.
Another who went hammer and tongs against Chandy was PC Chacko, who was an aspirant for the seat, after young legislators last month voiced their stand that the seat should not be given to Kurien, as he has had a long innings in parliament.
While Chandy was absent, as he had left for Andhra Pradesh on his first visit after he was appointed General Secretary in charge of the state, where Congress is literally wiped out, Chandy's close aides including Benny Behanan and PC Vishnunath strongly defended their leader, citing his wide support base extending throughout the state and popularity. They asserted that if there is any hidden agenda to attack him, then they will not sit idle.
Chandy, before leaving for Andhra Pradesh, told the media that he has urgent business there and is not able to participate in the meet, but said Chennithala and Hassan would explain what happened.
VM Sudheeran, the immediate past president of the party was another one, who found fault in the troika and said this should never have happened.
Chennithala however told the meeting that henceforth all important matters before a decision is taken would be discussed in the committee and agreed that they had erred in not taking the committee into confidence on the matter.
The issue is also likely to surface in the partyâ€™s executive meet on Tuesday and there too, sparks are bound to fly.