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Congress yields PJ Kurien’s Rajya Sabha berth to Kerala Congress (M), sparks protest

The Congress partys decision to offer the Rajya Sabha seat for which elections will be held on June 21, to the Kerala Congress (M) has sparked another round of resentment within the party with many leaders calling it a suicidal move. According to a report in The Indian Express, the Congress party on Thursday in a surprise move decided to offer the seat to the KC(M), thus marking its return to the United Democratic Front that had ruled the state between 2011 and 2016. The IE report said that the decision was taken after consulting Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Citing sources, it said that Muslim League leader PK Kunhalikuttys intervention was a key factor behind this decision. The Muslim League is a part of the UDF. Former CM Oommen Chandy, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president MM Hassan along with Jose K Mani and Kunhalikutty of the KC(M) had held discussions with Rahul Gandhi. Before this, top Congress leaders had met several times at the Kerala House to reach an agreement. According to Chennithala, the proposal to give the seat to KC(M) was conveyed by state leaders to Rahul, which he accepted. The Congress surprise move has now triggered an internal rift within the party which was already facing protests over its decision to give another Rajya Sabha term to PJ Kurien. Former KPCC president VM Sudheeran slammed the party leadership for the unprecedented and surprising decision. Calling it a suicidal move, Sudheeran said that the Congress should have fielded its own leader for the seat. Former CM and party general secretary Chandy, however, justified the decision saying it was for strengthening the UDF. He, however, added that it was a one-time decision and should be considered as a special case. KPCC president Hassan said that the decision to bring back the KC(M) to the UDF was taken unanimously. Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala rubbished reports that the Muslim Leagues was deciding factor behind this move. He said that there was It is believed that Kurien who retires on July 1, had written to Rahul Gandhi that if a ticket is not given to him, the party should nominate other leaders from the Congress. He had also suggested six names to him which included Hassan, VM Sudheeran, PC Vishnunath and PC Chacko. Three Rajya Sabha seats in Kerala are falling vacant on July 1 for which the elections will be held on June 21. The three MPs from Kerala are PJ Kurien, Joy Abraham (Kerala Congress-M) and CP Narayanan (CPI-M). The last date of filing nomination is June 11.

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