NSS leader’s demand for ‘key position’ to Chennithala

Leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) on Monday reacted sharply to the statement of NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair that Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala should be given a “key position” in the government to balance the majority-minority realities in the State.

UDF convener P.P. Thankachan came out with a strongly worded statement that the question of reshuffle of the Cabinet was not on the UDF’s agenda now and that the matter was something to be decided by the Congress party’s leadership and not by leaders of social organisations.

Mr. Thankachan said the UDF had always accepted positive suggestions from leaders of social organisations, but attempts of these organisations to intervene in political discourse were not a healthy trend. He went one step further by stating that some of the statements made by the NSS general secretary did not merit any reaction. Besides, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mr. Chennithala were not representatives of any sections, but leaders in their own right and accepted by the people.

Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala played it safe by resisting the temptation to make controversial statements that may add fat to the fire ignited by the NSS leader. Mr. Chennithala, responding to questions of mediapersons, said he had been given a task as the KPCC president to prepare the party for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and that he did not want to be distracted by controversies.

Rajmohan Unnithan, an acerbic Congress leader, put the onus on the Chief Minister and the KPCC chief to give a fitting reply to the NSS leader. Mr. Sukumaran Nair was hell bent on embarrassing Mr. Chennithala and his statement had virtually belittled the post of KPCC president. He felt that the Congress leaders who had sat in the front row of Sunday’s NSS rally should have walked out in protest.

Social Welfare Minister M.K. Muneer (of the Indian Union Muslim League), contrary to his soft-spoken manner, strongly reacted to the NSS general secretary’s statement. He said it was the people who voted the UDF to power and out of it and not leaders of social organisations. “It is unfortunate that the statements of some leaders are interpreted as social justice and that of others as controversial,” he said.

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