Wasnik heads for choppy Congress waters in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 16 (IANS) Congress leader Mukul Wasnik arrives here Wednesday amid infighting in the party and a state leader said he would "lend his ears to all".

Like his predecessors, Mukul Wasnik, who is AICC general secretary in charge of party affairs in Kerala, will have to try to secure a truce between factions led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state party president Ramesh Chennithala.

It is going to be a brainstorming session and would include a series of meetings with a cross-section of the leaders of the party, state Congress vice president Thampanoor Ravi told IANS.

"He would lend his ears to all. The primary objective is to warn the cadres and the party in general to rise above everything and to get the party and its machinery for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls fully oiled up. Another issue that would come up before him is the revamp of the party organisation at the district level and at the apex level," said Ravi.

While the Chandy faction hugely outnumbers the Chennithala faction, the chief minister is on the defensive after the solar panel scam surfaced when it was found that three of his staff members had some role in it.

The scam revolved around allegedly fraudulent deals of a woman and her partner on the pretext of supplying solar energy solutions at huge discounts.

The Chandy faction is cut up with the Chennithala faction after the scam broke out since they did not come to his defence. This gave the Left opposition an opportunity to criticise the chief minister.

"...when there is an issue in one's house, the entire family rallies behind the household, but in the case of the solar scam, the Chennithala faction kept mum and that has caused a lot of heartburn. We expect that his (Wasnik's) visit would be helpful to the party," said a senior Congress leader close to Chandy.

One person who has been particularly very critical of the government has been former chief minister K. Karunakaran's son K. Muraleedharan, who was reinducted into the party in 2011 after a five-year suspension.

On his return he kept a distance from both the factions. But, early this year, Muraleedharan decided to join the Chennithala faction and now acts like their unofficial spokesperson.

"All issues would be resolved tomorrow," said Muraleedharan.

Wasnik is here for two days and he would meet the district committees of the party at Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha.

"He will return soon and then cover the remaining 10 more districts where he will interact with the local leadership of the party," added Ravi.

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