People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 16, 2013




Rift Wide Open: Inner-Congress Rivalry Leads to Street Fights


N S Sajith


GROUP war within the Congress recently reached its unenviable peak, and spilled over into the streets, even as PCC president Ramesh Chennithala’s entry into the state cabinet remained uncertain. Congress workers belonging to the factions led by Ommen Chandi and Ramesh Chennithala were seen fighting these rivalries out everyday in the name of the Youth Congress elections; effigies of the chief minister and the PCC president were also burnt at various places by the rival factions. As the uncertainty regarding the entry of PCC president Ramesh Chennithala into the cabinet seemed to be endless, Congress workers turned rivals and street fights became the routine of the Congress activity. 


The street fights in Kochi, where the counting of votes in the Youth Congress elections took place, were a culmination of the fights all through the state. Elections in other districts too ended up in brawls. At the same time, the tragic killing of a Youth Congress mandalam secretary too has exposed the mafia-like mindset of the Congress rank and file in the state. (See below.) The police arrested the Congress mandalam president Premji Kollannur and six Congress workers in the case regarding the killing of Youth Congress leader Madhu in Thirssur. But those who hatched the conspiracy are said to be still roaming scot-free. 


The state unit of the Indian National Congress is now facing an unprecedented crisis, unseen in the past years. Chief minister Oommen Chandy, who was a kingpin in the mission to oust two Congress chief ministers --- K Karunakaran in 1995 and A K Antony in 2004 --- has so far been successful enough to block the entry of Ramesh Chennithala into the cabinet. Quite recently, Chandy vehemently turned down Ramesh’s demand to become the deputy chief minister with home portfolio. Congress High Command remains undecided on this issue. 


It was the chief minister’s adamant position to reject Ramesh’s demand that fuelled the anger of the latter’s faction all over the state. It is another thing that this anger did not find any adequate reflection in the Youth Congress elections as the Chandy faction was able to win over the opposition in these elections. However, his son, Chandy Oommen, has miserably lost the election to the general secretary’s post.




As a violent episode in the ongoing series of fisticuffs within the Youth Congress, a leader of the latter was brutally murdered in broad daylight recently. The incident occurred at Ayyanthole in Thrissur district. Madhu (44), secretary of the Ayyanthole mandalam (Panchayat) Committee of Youth Congress, was slaughtered on May 31 morning, in view of his wife, when both of them had gone to pray in a temple at Ayyanthole near Thrissur town. Some of the Congress workers were arrested later in this connection. The murder came as a sequel to the series of scuffles that had been occurring in this locality in connection with the recent Youth Congress elections.


According to the news received, four armed assailants came in an auto-rickshaw, dashed into the temple premises, hacked Madhu to death and then sped away. His wife, who was standing at a bus stop nearby and saw the attack taking place, rushed to the scene, and the people gathered there took Madhu to a hospital. But all efforts were in vain. His neck was slit and 15 cut-like wounds were found on his body.


It was the factional rivalries in the Youth Congress in connection with the organisational elections that led to this brutal incident. The scuffle reached its peak as Premji from the opposition group elected the mandalam president. Madhu’s group refused to accept Premji’s victory and both groups publicly challenged each other.




Lonappan Nambadan, a former Kerala minister and former Lok Sabha member, breathed his last on June 5 evening. He was 78.


Lonappan Nambadan, who was a popular leader from Thrissur district and renowned parliamentarian, had started his political career in the Kerala Congress but later came closer to the CPI(M). He had been undergoing treatment for kidney failure in a private hospital in Kochi. He has left behind his wife Annie, a son and two daughters. The body was cremated on June 6.


Nambadan, who had been renowned for his humorous speeches, got a special stature in Kerala politics when he made a successful attempt to topple the Congress ministry led by K Karunakaran in 1982, when he was a Kerala Congress legislator. An LDF government, led by E K Nayanar, came to power in 1980 but it became a minority government after the group led by A K Antony and Kerala Congress led by K M Mani withdrew support. Then K Karunakaran formed a government with the defection of one independent MLA, K K Nair. However, the government could succeed in voting only with the casting vote of assembly speaker, A C Jose. Protesting the speaker’s four casting votes in a single day, Nambadan decided to withdraw the support. Later on, he became an LDF backed legislator for four consecutive terms. In 2004 he won the Lok Sabha seat from the Congress stronghold of Mukundapuram constituency, defeating Padmaja Venugopal, the daughter of Karunakaran.


Nambadan, a long serving school teacher, also acted in three feature films and many telefilms. He acted as the former West Bengal   chief minister Jyoti Basu in the film AKG, directed by Shaji N Karun, a renowned director.




On June 3, a young CPI(M) worker was done to death in broad daylight in Palakkad district. Shivadasan (31), a resident of Kuzhalmandam in Palakkad district, was killed by a goonda gang in the morning when the car carrying the assailants was made to hit his motorbike. The assailants then hacked Shivadasan, who had fallen down, to death and sped away.

The police suspected that the gang was led by Prakshan, an RSS worker.