Addressing a meeting of his party's elected representatives, Lamenting that Congress is losing its mass base in Kerala due to infighting, senior party leader A K Antony on Saturday batted for a generational shift in the leadership of the party and said collective efforts are needed to bring back those who keep away from the organisation.
"We failed to retain power because of the never ending bickering in the party. There is no point in holding meetings and taking photographs. More opportunities should be given to youth and women in the party and it's time for a generation change."
In the 2016 May assembly polls, the then ruling government led by Oommen Chandy was supremely confident of retaining power. But when the votes were counted it suffered a humiliating defeat, which saw the Congress-led UDF reduced to just 47 seats in the 140-member Kerala Assembly. Early this month, the party received another jolt when the third biggest ally of the Congress – Kerala Congress (Mani) which has six legislators – quit the UDF after being in it since 1982.
"The need of the hour is to see that those who have left should be brought back. This is not going to happen unless the bickering in the Congress party is stopped," said Antony. The Congress party in Kerala has all along been caught in factional feuds which have often been pointed out as the root cause for every setback the party has suffered.
Antony's opening up comes at a time when there has been all-round demand for a change in the leadership of V.M. Sudheeran – state Congress president. According to many, Sudheeran was not the right choice for the post, and it was thrust upon the party by Rahul Gandhi in 2014, much against the wishes of leaders like Chandy and then Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who currently head rival factions in the party.