Nation Politics 23 Mar 2016 Straight bat: V M Su ...

Straight bat: V M Sudheeran pursues, unfazed by brickbats and bouquets

Published Mar 23, 2016, 6:26 am IST
Updated Mar 23, 2016, 6:26 am IST
Insiders accuse Mr Sudheeran of trying to cultivate a group for himself as the party president by attempting a party revamp.
V M Sudheeran
 V M Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The man is not easy to define. Is he a contrarian, like Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan towards the latter part of life, or a loner hugging principles even at the cost of losing support within the party?  Mr V M Sudheeran, picked up by the Congress high command to lead the party in time of elections, has earned bouquets and brickbats for the way he exposes his own Government.  

Speaker, Health Minister and several-time MP, Mr Sudheeran is no novice to governance. This possibly explains his zero tolerance towards controversial or dubious decisions taken by his Government; Methran kayal, Kadamakkudy, RTI gag and latest, the property that once belonged to Santhosh Madhavan.

While party men are outraged by Mr Sudheeran’s Facebook posts and live leaks of his inner-party criticisms by his lieutenants, a section outside the party backs him because he had taken a public position only after the media had reported the Government’s faux pas.

But sometimes he gives himself away. He commended Mr T N Prathapan’s decision to opt out of elections “this time” because he has been MLA for three consecutive terms. If Mr Sudheeran wanted this example to be followed, he could have affirmed it as the party president and forced Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and others past their prime to react.  

Was it mere a taunt and was he content doing just that? Ever since quitting the Antony group, Mr Sudheeran has remained a fierce critic of the Government, of either dispensation. But many wonder whether he should be both: KPCC president and Opposition leader.

Check the career graph. There are few like him who had refused to sign the party whip and turn up to vote in the Assembly during the days of palmolein scam. His reign as Speaker had Chief Minister K Karunakaran squirm in his seat.         

Insiders accuse Mr Sudheeran of trying to cultivate a group for himself as the party president by attempting a party revamp. But his argument has been that he merely tried to promote deserving hands outside groups. The A and I camps sense trouble, thinking it will be like the story of the monkey and cats, with the former having the cake all for itself.

They plan to petition the high command, wondering whether the bosses would tolerate Mr Sudheeran’s unilateral criticisms, without even convening the party-Government coordination committee for in-house settlement of issues.

But those outside have a different take. Mr Sudheeran does this in public to deter the Government from further lapses towards the fag-end of the ministry.  The ball is in the high command’s court. It could decide whether Mr Sudheeran himself should be a candidate. Or does Mr Sudheeran believe that no amount of bashing will harm the Government because it was beyond redemption.

Location: India, Kerala


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