KP Anilkumar quits Congress over leadership feud, defects to CPI(M)

Anilkumar had been suspended from the party in August for publicly expressing his displeasure with the District Congress Committee presidents list.
CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan draping a red shawl over KP Anilkumar
CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan draping a red shawl over KP Anilkumar
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Former KPCC General Secretary and a senior leader of the Congress KP Anilkumar quit the party on Tuesday, September 14. His resignation comes weeks after he was suspended by the party for publicly expressing his displeasure with the District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents list. Anilkumar announced his resignation from the Congress at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram. Hitting out at VD Satheesan, the Leader of Opposition, and K Sudhakaran, the KPCC President, Anilkumar accused the new leadership of being biased towards those who are close to them.

“There are people in the leadership who crave for my blood, crave to cut off my head and stab me from behind. I am not ready to get stabbed and die. Hence I am ending my 43-year-old career in Congress,” Anilkumar said. An emotional Anilkumar said that he is deeply pained, having been born into a Congress family, with the party in his blood.

Soon after announcing his resignation, Anilkumar defected to the ruling CPI(M). He received a red carpet welcome at the CPI(M) headquarters - the AKG Centre - in Thiruvananthapuram. CPI(M) polit bureau members Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, S Ramachandran Pillai and MA Baby received Anilkumar with a red shawl. Kodiyeri said that the party will give him the recognition due to him and that Anilumar left the Congress in protest against the soft Hindutva line towed by the leadership and that he felt motivated by the programmes and policies of the CPI(M).

“The new leadership in the party came with much expectation. The common man has come to the realisation that  the Congress won’t rise up to their expectations. The identity of the Congress is getting lost. At the national level, the Congress has become mere spectators while democracy and secularism of the country are being challenged,” Anilkumar said. Anilkumar’s resignation comes on the back of the latest factional feud within the Congress in Kerala. Several Congress leaders had openly expressed displeasure over the DCC presidents list announced by All India Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal in August.

Anilkumar along with former MLA from Aranmula K Sivadasan Nair had been placed under temporary suspension. Anilkumar is the second Congress leader to quit the party and join the CPI(M) recenty. Palakkad strongman AV Gopinath had announced his resignation on August 30 after he was rejected for the Palakkad DCC chief post. Gopinath had been with the party for nearly 50 years. On September 3, PS Prasanth, who was expelled from the Congress after he turned against the party for not selecting him as the Thiruvananthapuram DCC president, joined the ruling CPI(M).

Anilkumar said that he had sent the resignation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday morning. Following his resignation, KPCC chief Sudhakaran issued a letter expelling him from the party. The latest developments notably came a week after Sudhakaran said that all the issues in the party were resolved

The Congress’ rout in the Kerala Assembly election forced a leadership change in the state. While Mullappally Ramachandran was replaced by Sudhakaran as KPCC chief, Satheesan replaced Ramesh Chennithala as Leader of Opposition. With the new power centres, veteran leaders Oommen Chandy, Chennithala and Mullappally and their confidantes have been sidelined. Both Chandy and Chennithala had also raised voice against the DCC chiefs’ list for not having proper discussion with them before finalising the names. 

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