RS seat handed over to KC(M); Congress gag on leaders

Red-faced over open criticism by its leaders over its decision to forego the Rajya Sabha seat in favour of KC(M), Congress in Kerala put a gag on its leaders from airing their opinions in public.

The KPCC at its meeting also resolved to implement a code of conduct to end controversial statements from party leaders and workers "that will demean the party" and take stern action against those violating the guidelines.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President M.M Hassan said that the meeting authorised him to prepare the code of conduct.

The meeting, he said, viewed with seriousness the criticism over the RS seat being allotted to Kerala Congress (M) and assured that any decision on such issues in future would be taken collectively after discussions with others.

Hassan said that he and opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala informed the meeting that the decision to give the seat to KC(M) was taken with a view to strengthen UDF.

The June 7 decision of the Congress to hand over the lone RS seat to KC(M) as a condition for its return to the Front after it snapped ties two years ago had triggered strong protests from a section of party leaders in the state.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J Kurien and former KPCC Chief V.M Sudheeran were in the forefront in attacking the decision, which, they alleged, had been taken without taking the party into confidence.

Sudheeran and Kurien had stated that the decision lacked transparency and was taken by Chandy, Chennithala and Hassan without any consultations in the party.