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Kerala Congress leaders demand removal of non-performing DCCs, more youth representation ahead of assembly polls

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Thiruvananthapuram: Concerned over the party’s poor showing in recent civic polls, several Congress leaders in Kerala have flagged various issues including, the need to change the working style of the state leadership and sacking of non-performing district units, ahead of the assembly elections likely in April-May. Presenting a hordes of complaints and concerns before an All-India Congress Committee delegation which was here on Sunday to examine the party’s debacle in the crucial local body polls which the ruling LDF swept, the leaders wanted immediate intervention of the high command to address the issues, party sources said.

There was also a general suggestion to give more representation for youth in the assembly polls.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) political affairs committee members, state-level office-bearers and District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents were among those who met the delegation headed by AICC general secretary (in charge of Kerala) Tariq Anwar.

The delegation, which also comprised AICC secretaries Ivan D’Souza and P V Mohan and on a mission to elicit suggestions to revamp the party, met the leaders of the Congress-led United Democratic Front too here on Monday.

Though there were reports that leaders pressed for change of the present state leadership during the interactions, a highly-placed AICC source said no such demand came up but there was sharp criticism against the working style. “To my knowledge, no such demand has come up. Because, everyone knows that such a change is not practical as there are only three or four months left for the assembly polls. “But, many have complained against the intense groupism, non-performance of many DCCs and the holding of DCC presidentship by some people’s representatives in the state,” the source told .

Many senior leaders had attributed “non-performance” of DCCs for the party’s debacle in many districts. “They demanded an immediate change in such DCCs at the leadership level. But, they said if there is a change, it should be within weeks as DCCs have to start preparations for the assembly elections,” the source said.

In some districts like Palakkad, Ernakulam and Wayanad, MLAs or MPs hold the post of DCC presidents also and some leaders demanded that the AICC delegation take steps to make a change in this.

“Many pointed out how CPI(M) gives the public an impression that they aregiving prominence to youths. They also pointed out the example of the Marxist party picking up a 21-year-old college student for the post of Mayor in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation,” the source said. The leaders wanted the central leadership to take some action to convince people that they were giving some prominence to the youth in the Congress.

In the recent three-phased civic polls, the UDF won only 5,893 of the total 15,962 village panchayat wards, 727of the 2,080 block panchayat wards, 110 out of total 331 district panchayat seats, 1,172 of the 3,078 municipality wards and 120 of the total 414 divisions in six corporations.

After the poll outcome, posters had appeared in some parts of the state criticising KPCC leadership headed by Mullappally Ramachandran while some senior leaders had said the organisational set-up of the Congress party was weak.

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