As the Kerala Assembly polls are nearing, a team constituted by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) led by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, comprising former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara has reached the state in a bid to turn the tide in Congress' favour.
The team will hold a series of meetings with senior Congress leaders in the state and also will attend the first meeting of the 10-member election management and strategy committee headed by former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Saturday.
After a dismal performance by Congress in the Local Body polls, the meeting assumes significance as many leaders recently had openly criticised the state leadership for failing to take all leaders along and argued that giving greater role to Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in the United Democratic Front (UDF) has created confusion in party's rank and file.
Meanwhile, KV Thomas, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister from Ernakulam, who is at loggerheads with the state leadership and according to sources had held discussions to join the LDF camp, cancelled a press meet scheduled on Saturday in Kochi to announce his future plans.
It is learned that he has been called to the state capital and Ashok Gehlot may persuade him not to leave the Congress at this juncture as the party is desperately trying to put up a unified fight for the assembly polls.
"Though Kerala Congress (M) led by Jose K M ahead of local body polls had left UDF and joined LDF, none of the Congress leaders had deserted the party. Though the state leadership feels that the move by KV Thomas is a bargaining tactic that the party should not heed, Congress doesn't want to create precedents, particularly in Kerala. So efforts are on to woo him to stay," a Congress leader told .
The 10-member election panel that will hold its meeting tomorrow includes AICC in-charge of Kerala Tariq Anwar, AICC general secretary orgsation KC Venugopal, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappalay Ramachandran, leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, Shashi Tharoor, Kodikunnil Suresh, K Muraleedharan, V M Sudheeran and K Sudhakaran.
After the meeting of the panel, KPCC meeting is also scheduled on Saturday.
( With inputs from ANI )
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