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PC Chacko Interview | Congress headless, adhocism at the top hurting party

PC Chacko, who sent his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi, alleged that the seats in his home state were divided on the basis of factions and blamed the central leadership for failing to lead the party effectively.

March 17, 2021 / 10:33 AM IST

Senior Congress leader and former member of parliament (MP) PC Chacko resigned on March 10 from the party in protest against the allocation of seats in poll-bound Kerala.

Chacko, who sent his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi, alleged that the seats in his home state were divided on the basis of factions and blamed the central leadership for failing to lead the party effectively.

READ: Exclusive: PC Chacko likely to join Sharad Pawar's NCP , will campaign for LDF in Kerala

A four-term Lok Sabha Member, Chacko began his political career as an activist of the Congress’s student wing Kerala Students Union (KSU). A veteran Congress leader, Chacko was elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha from Thrissur in Kerala in 1991. His last term as an MP from Thrissur was until 2014.

In an interview to Moneycontrol, Chacko, 74, shared why he left the party and what are his future plans. Excerpts:

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Q: What made you leave the Congress after such a long association with the party?

I have been thinking about this for quite some time now. Factionalism in the Kerala Congress has been hurting the party's prospectus to return to power. This is the main reason for me to quit. Overall, I do not think the Congress has got a systematic functioning, even at the top. People wanted Rahul Gandhi to be president of the party but he is refusing. It has literally become headless party.

Sonia Gandhi, who is not in good health, has been interim president for one-and-a-half year now. So, the Congress is functioning in a haphazard manner. A large number of senior leaders are frustrated because of this. The party which should have functioned as a main opposition party is not functioning in a satisfactory manner.

The group of 23 leaders ‘G-23’ sought changes in the leadership. But you were not part of the group. Why?

When they (G-23) were carrying the signatory campaign, I did not sign because it would have been an anti-party activity. But, I must say, whatever they have said is absolutely correct. They said they wanted an AICC session and election. These are all constitutional obligations of the Congress party. They did not question the leadership of Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi. They only said they wanted an elected working committee which many senior leaders agreed to. No one can object to anything they said.

Also, read: Congress leader PC Chacko resigns from party, alleges groupism in Kerala unit

What do you think the future of Congress is going to be like?

We see the party that should have been the main opposition party in the country is unable to function properly. We cannot blame any other party for the crisis. There were issues raised by some leaders. There has to be discussion on how to revive the party.

Madam (Sonia Gandhi) called leaders and gave them some assurance. But nothing was put into practice. I do not think that situation is going to improve anytime soon. As I said earlier a party should work in a systematic manner. As long as the Congress depends on adhocism at the top, I do not see the situation improving. This is very detrimental to the future of the party.

Also, read: In-Depth | The Congress G-23: A pressure group or honest well-wishers of the Grand Old Party?      

What are your future plans?

In Kerala, there are two fronts- one led by the Congress (United Democratic Front) and the other led by the communists (Left Democratic Front). I have left the Congress so naturally I have to take a position. I may support the LDF-led by the CPM. I cannot join the BJP or the communist party. I have to be with the party that has a Congress culture. So I am meeting Mr Sharad Pawar. I may join the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) which is part of the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 11 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.

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