Fielding youngsters and fresh faces as well as announcing new DCC presidents in the Congress state unit had stirred expectations of the party’s revival in Kerala.
Contrary to the tradition, it was hailed as a bold decision of the organisation. The move was expected to help in retaining the foothold of Congress at least in the state. The country’s oldest political party has been witnessing a decline at the national level, through the years. But the recent incidents have shattered all such hopes.
Groupism and infightings have been an inevitable aspect of the Congress party. It’s these groups that keep the party alive and active. According to the party’s theory, they are a democratic party and that groupism was only a natural aspect of a dynamic and swift internal democracy. It isn’t always necessary for all the parties to adopt a method of centralised democracy and Leninist discipline like the CPI-M. Declaring candidature for party positions, campaigning and casting votes to choose the party leaders similar to a public election could be seen in many foreign countries.
When the leaders are elected for the party positions after a vigorous and widespread campaign, the convention usually in those countries is to proceed with one accord on the basis of the policy set by the party. It’s a developed form of in-party democracy. However, groupism as well as the laundering within the party cannot be included in that category. The issue snowballing into a law and order problem was what happened in Kollam DCC on Wednesday.
Congress leader Rajmohan Unnithan was manhandled when he reached the DCC office following his resignation as Congress spokesperson. He was attacked by a group of party workers supporting former KPCC president K Muraleedharan. Such awful incidents aren’t new. Unnithan was publicly disrobed during a group fight earlier, in 2004 in Thiruvananthapuram. There have been bigger fights within the party in the name of groups. But Unnithan’s reactions after the Kollam incident are of grave concern. He said that he was attacked by pre-paid goons sent by Muraleedharan who was plotting to kill him. Unnithan also said that he would hit back using goons. These allegations and warnings cannot be ignored as trivial matters. A senior and responsible Congress leader openly declaring that he would use goons for retaliation if needed, plainly shows how low the party leadership has stooped. Would Unnithan be ready to disclose the identities of his goons? The allegations raised against Muraleedharan could be categorised as a criminal conspiracy. Would he be prepared for the legal procedures in that regard? Such questions are seemingly irrelevant. At the same time, if groupism is beginning to affect the law and order situation of the state, it’s the duty of the concerned persons to take appropriate action.
There would always be justifications and counter arguments related to any happenings. Such shameful incidents tarnish the image of the party in front of the people. It’s inapt for the state unit of the largest party in the Opposition to behave in this manner when the nation passes through a tremendous gruelling phase. When bigger issues that directly affect the common man such as demonetisation, growth of communal hatred and ration crisis prevail, the main opposition faction resorting to ‘exhibiting’ despicable infightings would only ruin the party.
A powerful and astute half-Left party is essential for the nation and Congress has the historic responsibility to take over that duty. The party shouldn’t lose its remaining vigour by indulging in such brawls.