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Ex-Congress chief in Kerala says appeasing Mani was a ‘Himalayan blunder’

Thiruvananthapuram: The rumblings in Kerala’s Congress unit over the party’s decision to hand over its Rajya Sabha seat to the Kerala Congress (M) led by K.M. Mani have continued, days after the decision was taken.

The decision to give the seat to Kerala Congress (M) at a time when that party was not even part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front coalition had shocked Congressmen and political observers alike.

Having got the seat, Mani decided to give it to his son, Jose K. Mani, who is the incumbent Lok Sabha member representing Kottayam.

In the latest outburst within the Congress, former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president V.M. Sudheeran hit out at the KPCC leadership, particularly at Oommen Chandy for having handed over the Congress’ precious Rajya Sabha seat to Mani.

Stating that the decision to give the Rajya Sabha seat to Kerala Congress (M) was a “Himalayan blunder”, Sudheeran added, “No political leader with common sense would take such a decision. A Lok Sabha MP (like Jose K. Mani) going to Rajya Sabha means one seat less for the United Progressive Alliance, or in other words a gain for the Bharatiya Janata Party.”

Picking on former chief minister, Sudheeran said Chandy was envious of him for getting the KPCC president’s job, and that Chandy had acted indifferently to him despite repeated phone calls to him.

Sudheeran recalled that Chandy had stayed away from the installation ceremony when he was made the KPCC president.

The former KPCC president said Chandy was responsible for the failure of both the rallies that he had led during his tenure as KPCC president, and that Chandy seemed unwilling even to mention his name while inaugurating the rallies.

Senior Congress leader K.C. Joseph criticised Sudheeran for his comments, pointing out that his words had “questioned the self-respect of Congress workers”.

The Rajya Sabha seat issue has roiled the morale of Congressmen in Kerala, and many are taking to social media to express their angst.

Senior Congressman P.J. Kurien appeared to be the front-runner for the seat in the beginning, but young Congress leaders raised a storm against reinstalling veteran leaders like Kurien. As it transpired, both seniors and juniors were shocked when they were told that the seat would go to the Kerala Congress (M).

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