Refrain from trading barbs against one another in public, party leaders told

The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) on Thursday set in motion the process of gearing up for the Assembly polls by holding a meeting of elected representatives of the Legislature and Parliament and senior office-bearers of the party here.

The meeting chaired by P.V. Mohan, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in charge of Kerala, discussed the political and electoral strategy to be adopted in the Assembly elections after the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) received a walloping shock in the recent three-tier local body polls.

The leadership while deliberating the driving forces and possible outcomes of the Assembly polls wanted senior leaders from refraining from trading barbs against one another in public.

Mr. Mohan from Karnataka has been appointed by the Congress high command to assist Tariq Anwar, the AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala. He will monitor the north Kerala region, while two others — P. Viswanathan and Ivan D’Souza — central Travancore and southern sectors.

Addressing the media, Mr. Mohan said the exercise would continue in all districts. It is too premature to divulge details about deliberations at the meeting, he added.

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran said the target of the Congress was to achieve cent percent success in the Assembly elections. The party will study the reasons for its failures, he said.

He alleged that the CPI(M) and the BJP had joined hands against the Congress in the State. “Plans are afoot to accommodate youngsters in the electoral fray. The selection of candidates will be foolproof and transparent,” Mr. Ramachandran.

On the Congress having covert and overt relationships with the Welfare Party of India, the political arm of the Jamaat Islami Hind, Mr. Ramachandran said it was a closed chapter. He declined to comment on rumours of his candidature in the Assembly polls.

Earlier, K. Sudhakaran, MP, said the high command was vested with powers to effect any changes in the State leadership of the party. The Congress will not have any tacit understanding with the Welfare Party of India. However, the party will accept votes from anyone, he said.

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