Congress high command warns Kerala leaders against speaking out in public

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (IANS) Taking serious note of the infighting in the Congress’ Kerala unit, the party high command on Wednesday directed its members not to speak in public about party issues.

“It has been directed to all in Kerala that henceforth none should speak in public about party issues. They can do it in party forums only and anyone violating this would have to face strong action,” the All India Congress Committee General Secretary in-charge of Kerala, Mukul Wasnik, told reporters in Delhi.

Wasnik’s directives came soon after a tiff broke out at the Kollam district Congress committee office when senior leader Rajmohan Unnithan who arrived to take part in a party meeting was roughed up by angry Congress workers suspected to be close to K. Muraleedharan, party legislator and son of K. Karunakaran.

“I was attacked by anti-social elements. I was informed by many journalists that I should not attend the meeting as the atmosphere is charged and I would be taken to task. But I decided to come and take part in the meeting and was roughed up by ‘paid’ people,” said Unnithan.

Affairs in the Kerala unit of the Congress party have been charged for the past few days and on Tuesday it reached a flash point when Unnithan and Muraleedharan engaged in a verbal duel in public.

“I am deeply pained at what has happened in my party in Kerala and I wish that it is resolved at the earliest,” veteran Congress leader A.K. Antony told reporters in Delhi.

Ever since the drubbing in the May assembly polls, the party has been divided with former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, state party President V.M. Sudheeran and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, heading their own factions.

Things went from bad to worse early this month when the 14 district committees of the party were reconstituted by the party high command.

The present impasse began when Muraleedharan opened up by stating that the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition is a weak one and has not been able to cash in on the dismal performance of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI(M) government.

He also said that nothing has been done to fire up the party cadres.

This irked Unnithan, who went personal in countering Muraleedharan and on Tuesday it reached a flash point.

“I suspect that there are vested interests behind Unnithan and what has happened is most unfortunate. We all expect that the party high command intervenes,” said Muraleedharan.

–IANS

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