Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala on Monday said he would not make unnecessary overtures for power.
“For a politician, power is necessary, but not greed for power. I have never been inebriated by power. I am not interested in running helter-skelter behind power. It is this out-of-control run for power which is the bane of Kerala politics today,” he said.
He was accepting the Kerala Gandhi award for communal harmony and peace in a function here with leaders across party spectrum present.
Mr. Chennithala asked why political parties in Kerala cannot raise their head about the daily trifles and stand together to better the lives of the people.
“It is only in Kerala that parties do not stand together to resolve public issues. Prices are rising, development project continue to be delayed… nothing is being done. It is time development in the State needs a re-look,” Mr. Chennithala said.
Calling himself a “secularist without a single stain on him”, the KPCC president said his stance had always been that development was not just one political party’s handiwork, but was a result of various parties joining forces.
His critique came after UDF partners showered him with praises on the same stage.
Kottakal MLA and IUML central committee secretary M.P. Abdussamad Samadani, who came in place of State secretary K.P.A Majeed, said Mr. Chennithala and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had played a decisive role in the coming of age of the UDF.
He cautioned that the next generation was not interested in divisive and factional politics nor the debates and controversies surrounding them.
“The youth has begun to keep their distance. They want positive politics. Look at the crowd, the masses that surged to Parliament in outrage to the Delhi rape case. There was no politics, there was no coloured flag of any political party flying there. There will a come a time, if we go on like this, when the public will not need parties for politics,” Mr. Samadani said.
To this, Mr. Chennithala, later in his speech, countered that an apolitical generation spells danger.
“This kind of mass movement will only be politics without commitment, believing whatever people say and knowing nothing. Such movements cannot bring change, and even if they do, change will not last long,” he said.
Socialist Janata (Democratic) chairperson M.P. Veerendra Kumar described Mr. Chennithala as an “ideal Congress man” and someone on whom the finger of corruption cannot be pointed at.
M.K. Raghavan, MP, joined to say that the KPCC president was the “future” of the Congress in Kerala even as Kozhikode District Congress Committee president K.C. Abu compared Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala to “Mohan Lal and Mammooty of Malayam cinema”.
BJP national executive council member P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, in a self-critique which also included Mr. Chennithala, said they both practice “power politics”.
“But there was time when leaders kept their distance from power politics and were still able to sway the masses on their finger tips,” he reminisced.