After several leaders exited the party, the Congress in Kerala seems to be a divided house as groupism has increased ahead of the Assembly polls, sources said.
The party is divided between former Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala, but now another group has emerged which is led by K.C. Venugopal, General Secretary Organisation, said to be close to Rahul Gandhi.
The groupism was evident after the high profile exit of P.C. Chacko from the party and many others. However, timely intervention of Sonia Gandhi stopped K.V. Thomas, former Union Minister from leaving the party. But, sources say that the issue has not died down yet, and if the party loses it will be because of groupism, said sources.
The party leaders are miffed with the growing clout of Venugopal as he tried to push candidates through the observers and screening committee members, said sources, and after Sonia Gandhi intervened the matter was rectified.
Sources say Congress General Secretary in-charge Tariq Anwar has been trying hard to defuse the tension and keep the party united in its fight in the Assembly polls against the LDF. Rahul Gandhi is specially focussing on the state and will be on the campaign trail for two days next week and will meet the leaders of the state.
The Congress is trying to make a comeback in the state as the LDF is facing incumbency and also the party is putting up a strong face. The elections are crucial for Rahul Gandhi too, who is also a Lok Sabha member from Wayanad.
While supporters of former Chief Minister A.K. Antony were also pushing for him as a consensus candidate for CM post, but he has made it clear that he is not in the race.
Antony, who has made it clear that he has no role in state politics, said that he will not seek renomination for the Upper House, “I plan to return here (Thiruvananthapuram) when my term in the Rajya Sabha ends next year. I have already made it very clear that I will have no role in state politics and I said this way back in 2004 itself,” he told the media though he is campaigning for the party in the state and his son Anil K. Antony is social media head of the Kerala unit of the Congress.