At least four Congress leaders have either left the party or stepped down from key positions in a matter of a week in Rahul Gandhi's constituency of Wayanad in Kerala, ahead of the state Assembly polls. They have cited organisational disinterest and "groupism" as reasons for their departure. While senior leaders have moved in to tackle the situation and play it down as inconsequential, the exits do not bode well for the party as it looks to return to power in the state after five years.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad, for the first time contesting from an additional constituency - he eventually lost his family stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The move to Wayanad was, however, viewed as a key reason for the party-led United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance sweeping 19 of the 20 seats in the state. The UDF is now looking for inspiration from that performance to take on the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the Assembly polls scheduled for April 6. However, in the December 2020 local body polls, it was the LDF that did well.
It is in the backdrop of this seesawing of electoral fates that the issue of attrition has now cropped up in the UDF. And that, too, in what was till recently believed to be a Congress bastion since Mr Gandhi's Lok Sabha win.
Among those who have left the party or resigned from important positions are District Congress General Secretary PK Anil Kumar, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Secretary MS Vishwanathan, former KPCC member KK Vishwanathan, and Mahila Congress leader Sujaya Venugopal.
At least one of them has reportedly joined an LDF ally already.Advertisement
Party stalwart K Sudhakaran, dispatched to defuse the situation, said, "There is a misconception that leaders in Wayanad are quitting en masse. As far as the Congress is concerned, there is no problem. Two of our leaders joined the Left parties. But two CPI(M) leaders have joined the Congress as well."
Mr Gandhi, meanwhile, has been actively campaigning in Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu over the past few weeks.