A small ‘Hindu’ victory in ‘Christian Congress’

published on March 13, 2009



Thrissur Congress leaders celebrate Vadakkan’s withdrawal

PNS | Thrissur

With
all the warring groups in the Kerala unit of the Congress party and
even some reputed personalities outside the party coming together to
oppose his planned candidature in Thrissur Lok Sabha seat , AICC
secretary Tom Vadakkan has given up all hopes of becoming an MP from
the cultural capital of the State.

Vadakkan, who hoped of
getting para-dropped in Thrissur from Delhi as Congress candidate with
the help of his Roman Catholic Church
, wrote to party president Sonia
Gandhi a one-and-a-half page letter explaining that he did not want to
be a candidate and why he took that decision.

Vadakkan’s
opponents in Thrissur celebrated his withdrawal though they tried to
play down the development. “It was not a big issue, anyway. He has
never figured even as a small player in the politics of Thrissur,
Kerala or the entire party.

You cannot be a candidate to Lok
Sabha simply because you have some Christian bishop as your godfather,”

said a senior Congress leader, who had used all his resources to
deprive Vadakkan of the chance.

However, he did not deny the possibility of a comeback by Vadakkan because “our party has a different culture”.

He
suspected that the very act of sending a withdrawal letter to Sonia
Gandhi was in a sense equal to sending an application. “Who knows if
Soniaji had ever thought of Vadakkan as the candidate for Thrissur?
Such a letter would bring to her notice of his interest in the seat,”
the leader said.

Revealing that he had written to Sonia Gandhi
about his decision, Tom Vadakkan told newsmen in Delhi that he was
withdrawing from the fight for the Thrissur ticket because of “my love
for the party and Thrissur”. He said he had come to this decision on
his own and not due to any pressure from anywhere.

“I took this
decision because I don’t want to spark off any controversy. I am doing
this for the party, to strengthen the party. I am sure Sonia Gandhi
will accept my position,” he said.

Vadakkan’s plan to contest
the Thrissur seat had been opposed widely in the Thrissur unit of the
Congress. The objection to his candidature had even led to the
suspension of State Youth Congress spokesman Gopaprathapan from
Chavakkad for six years from the organization.

Vadakkan had
invited the wrath of several leaders for forcing the national
leadership of the Youth Congress to suspend the State leader within
minutes of his press conference in Thrissur in which he stated that
Vadakkan would not win as Congress candidate in Thrissur.

Hundreds
of supporters of Gopaprathapan had held a demonstration against
Vadakkan in Thrissur on the very next day, burning his effigy.
Gopaprathapan said he would contest the Thrissur seat if Vadakkan
became candidate there. He said that Vadakkan would not be a Congress
candidate but a candidate of the Catholic Church.


Observers
said Vadakkan was a victim of political ignorance. They said he had
never tried to mingle with the people of Thrissur but had always
liaised with the office of Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, who in the end
was reprimanded by Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil for
showing interest in the Congress politics.

“Vadakkan has no
idea how politics works in Kerala. He doesn’t even have any basic idea
of politics. On the one hand, he did not make any effort to befriend
the local people or leaders. On the other he tried to impose his
candidature on them by using the influence of the Archbishop,”
said a
Congress leader in Thrissur.

The first objection to Vadakkan’s
planned candidature had come from none other than district Congress
president CN Balakrishnan, who said “overused” brooms were not welcome
in Thrissur, in an indirect reference to Vadakkan. The next one to
criticise Vadakkan was Senapathi Venu, a low-rung leader from Idukki,
who asked Sonia Gandhi not to send sweepers and tea-boys of AICC office
as candidates to Kerala. Even persons like critic-writer Sukumar
Azheecode, who had nothing to do with the Congress party objected to
the proposed candidature of Vadakkan.

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