Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 31 July 2021 2.09 PM IST

'Everyone is responsible for election defeat'; Mullappally Ramachandran opens up


Mullappally Ramachandran, son of freedom fighter Mullappally Gopalan of Malabar, is a Congress leader who can be said to be the embodiment of sincerity and honesty. Mullappally, who became the KPCC president in 2018 and led the party to a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, stepped down as KPCC president after Congress suffered huge defeats in the Assembly and local body elections. Now, Mullappally has opened up about his experience in the two and a half years.

Are you stepping down as KPCC president with self-satisfaction?

I'm stepping down with absolute satisfaction. One needs to assess the political situation during the time in which I took over as KPCC president. I became the KPCC president during a very difficult stage. The Narendra Modi government was ruling the Centre and the Lok Sabha elections were fast approaching in Kerala. The All India Congress Committee asked me to take up the task as a challenge. When I was undertaking such a mission in Kerala, I only sought assurances from the Congress leaders for their unwavering support. When I got here, the party system was like a tainted book. I am not blaming any individual leaders. The main question that haunted me was how to make this party a success in such an environment. I felt that the party must be organized from the grassroots. A building will be strong only if its foundation is strong. So, the focus was given to strengthen the booth committees. 25,000 booth presidents and as many women vice presidents came up. Its general meeting was held in Ernakulam in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. Unfortunately, when it came to implementation, the project, 'My Booth My Pride' was not good enough. It was created to suit the tastes of leaders from the local level to the state level. I do not blame the leaders there either. No one was ready to quarrel with those who had been with them for so many years. All committees became inactive. The biggest proof of this came in the Assembly and local elections. There were no home visits. The posters given from here did not even reach the houses. The manifesto was very carefully prepared. Even a copy of it was found lying in several offices. The journey that began with the desire to change the weak committees could not be completed. It was Rahul Gandhi who interviewed all the 14 district congress committee chairpersons. Block and constituency committees could not be reorganized anywhere. It was argued that the task should be entrusted to those who have ability, efficiency, commitment to the party and loyalty towards the people. However, the reality at the grassroots level was that they were determined by the will of the leaders. The party system as a whole was weak.

Do you think that the High Command's assurance of support at all levels was not fulfilled?

They gave me complete freedom. They said it sincerely. However, when it came to the bottom, things did not go as per plan. There were obstacles and disputes and I was not able to make the decisions on my own. I don't want to blame anyone. This was because of the group politics which was going on within the party.

Were you not able to survive the pressure from the Oommen Chandy- Ramesh Chennithala duo, who have been leading the A and I groups for decades?

There are groups beyond that. There were others who claimed that they were the leaders. They also made moves in places where they had influence. It was such a complicated situation. The party cannot move forward without changing that. It is also not right to blame one or two leaders for the defeat. Everyone is responsible. My committee had working presidents, vice presidents, general secretaries, secretaries, DCC presidents, block and constituency presidents. Everyone should claim responsibility for the defeat. Many who called for an immediate end to group politics were strong spokesmen for groups until recently. ​In any case, it is gratifying that they all had enlightenment

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