"Rajya Sabha Not An Old-Age Home": Row In Kerala Congress Over PJ Kurien

Three Rajya Sabha seats from the state, including the one held by PJ Kurien, will fall vacant on July 1.

'Rajya Sabha Not An Old-Age Home': Row In Kerala Congress Over PJ Kurien

Kerala's young lawmakers have set themselves against re-election of leader PJ Kurien in Rajya Sabha

Thiruvananthapuram:  A bitter internal tussle of Kerala Congress is being fought out in public, as a group of young lawmakers have set themselves against the re-election of veteran leader PJ Kurien in Rajya Sabha. On Facebook, while one lawmaker advised the party not to treat the upper house of parliament as an "old-age home" another said Mr Kurien should "take this opportunity to wisely to withdraw from Parliamentary politics".

Mr Kurien, who is now 77, took to the Facebook this evening. In a post tinged with bitterness, he wrote, "Why are the young MLAs attacking me... Should you insult the elderly by calling them 'aged'?". He also questioned if getting old was a crime and whether the young lawmakers, all of whom were no older than 28, treated elders at their home the same way.

"Those who say I should stay away, I do not have anything against them. But they should air their views in the party fora and not in the social media," he wrote, adding, whatever decision the party takes, he would accept it happily.

Three Rajya Sabha seats from the state, including the one held by Mr Kurien, will fall vacant on July 1.

One of the young leaders, VT Balram, who was the first to express his displeasure in Facebook, invoked party chief Rahul Gandhi.  

"Young leaders need to be given opportunities just as Sri Rahul Gandhi has mentioned several times. Especially after Chengannur results, which have been a huge shock for me and many Congress workers," he told NDTV. The CPM had retained the assembly seat in the recently-held by-elections.

"I hope PJ Kurien who is completing three terms in Rajya Sabha will use this opportunity wisely to withdraw from Parliamentary politics," his post had read. Soon after, several younger lawmakers -  Hibi Eden, Roji  John, Shafi Parambil and Anil Akkara - had joined the chorus.

"At a time when the ruling party itself does not respect the parliament, challenges the democratic processes and constitution, the Congress should not use Rajya Sabha as an old age home," Hibi Eden had said.

Mr Gandhi, 47, who took charge of the party in December last year, was initially seen as the leader of the younger faction in the Congress. But lately, he has been knitting together the old and young to help the party put its best foot forward.

In the coming elections in Madhya Pradesh, he has put party veteran Kamal Nath in charge - a choice that was seen as an assurance to the party's old guard that while he could be close to young leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, he will take a considered decision.

While the party has not commented on the matter yet, senior Congress leaders have gone on record saying the party valued its senior leaders, unlike the BJP, which sidelines its leaders by placing them in its "Margdarshak Mandal".

Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019

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