The visibility of KC Venugopal: From Kerala college to Congress high table

In a political party, having recognisable initials is a marker of power and influence. Sometimes all you need are a couple of letters.

WrittenBy:Maria Teresa Raju
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It’s rare to see Congress leader Rahul Gandhi without his companion clad in a starched khadi shirt and dhoti. When faced with questions, Rahul often says, “Check with KC,” referring to KC Venugopal, a seasoned politician from Kerala.

How did KC become Rahul’s confidante, and why does Rahul trust him? These questions reveal a mixed opinion among Congress leaders about KC, who holds the powerful position of General Secretary (Organisation) of the Congress party. Venugopal has both strong admirers and detractors – mainly the latter. One insider, who is close to both Rahul and KC, said that he ticks three boxes that are crucial for Rahul. We will discuss this in detail later.

Various leaders we spoke with from different states highlighted the Congress’s abysmal failure in forming a government in Goa in 2017, as the incident which solidified Rahul's unwavering trust in KC Venugopal.

During the crucial period of government formation, senior leader Digvijaya Singh, who was Congress-in-charge of Goa, was caught napping. While Digvijaya Singh remained inactive, Amit Shah acted swiftly, gathered independent MLAs, and formed a BJP government in Goa.

Singh’s failure underscored KC’s reliability for Rahul. The two had already developed a close bond as they sat next to each other in Parliament. KC, serving as the Goa screening committee chief, had warned the party high command about the lethargy that ultimately cost them the opportunity to form a government in the state. Two years later, KC was made the General Secretary (Organisation), one of the most powerful persons in the Congress after the party president and the Gandhis.

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