KPCC panel to meet on Friday to assess poll debacle

The KPCC’s political affairs committee will meet here on May 7 to review the party’s Assembly election defeat.

The ‘humiliating’ setback at the hustings has spawned far-reaching questions about the party’s future course and what lays ahead for its top leadership. The Opposition had lost for a second consecutive time.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had chaired the KPCC’s Election Management and Strategy Committee. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran were members along with AICC office-bearers.

The leaders are reportedly facing flak from within the party for the loss. Senior leader K.C. Joseph said Congress had lost more votes than it did in 2016 when the LDF ascended to power on an anti-incumbency wave.

Congress did not see the ‘writing on the wall’ when it performed dismally in the local body polls. The party should seek reports from Congress candidates and DCC presidents. It should address its organisational weakness at the booth level. “Unrecognisably overpopulated and top heavy higher committees would not help the party,” Mr. Joseph said.

A senior leader said Congress felt that the BJP had voted in favour of the LDF in at least 76 constituencies. Moreover, the pandemic had diminished the anti-incumbency factor.

In hindsight, voters were patently unwilling to change guard mid-crisis. Prompt payment of enhanced welfare pension and distribution of food kits amplified the LDF’s image.

Congress could not squeeze the anticipated advantage out of the corruption charges raised by Mr. Chennithala. The party had shed votes almost uniformly across the State. It signalled a trend in LDF’s favour. The Congress had benefited from a similar wave in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. It had bagged 19 out of the 20 Parliament seats.

Weak community links, shoddy campaigning and stasis at the booth level had caused the vote cave-in. Another leader said voters fell for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s projected image of a hands-on administrator.

The Congress had gone into the elections with several vulnerabilities, including a paucity of funds. Dedicated workers were at a premium. The candidates were mostly left to fend for themselves. It fought a weak and disorganised campaign on the ground. The AICC has sought a report on the debacle.

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