Kerala

Congress moves to placate Chennithala

The Congress high command on Friday moved to placate former Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.

Mr. Chennithala had earlier signalled his resentment at “not being kept in the loop” about the high command’s decision to appoint V.D. Satheesan as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader.

Mr. Chennithala met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi, triggering speculation that the party might accommodate him in the national leadership structure. Later, AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal met Mr. Chennithala at the Kerala House.

Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, ostensibly authored the generational change in the CLP after meeting Congress legislators and MPs.

Mr. Chennithala reportedly had no inkling of the high command’s thinking. As a result, he felt blindsided by the high command’s decision, sources close to Mr. Chennithala said.

They said Mr. Chennithala, who headed the ‘I’ group, had a clear majority in the CLP. However, he did not covet the CLP leadership.

Like the then KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, Mr. Chennithala had awaited the high command’s decision.

Mr. Chennithala felt the party had denied him a graceful exit. Moreover, some compatriots had attempted to create an impression via media that he was clinging to the post. His camp said the reports had hurt Mr. Chennithala and dented his public standing.

Earlier, Mr. Chennithala had taken strong exception to the high command’s decision to appoint former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as the head of the election management committee. However, he had gone with the high command’s decision and worked with Mr. Chandy and Mr. Ramachandran. The ‘I’ group felt that Mr. Chandy’s entry had prevented the party from projecting a clear Chief Ministerial candidate.

At a recent party function, Mr. Chennithala appeared to suggest somewhat obliquely that behind-the-scenes manoeuvring by some former loyalists had led to his alleged sidelining.

Mr. Chennithala told reporters in New Delhi that he would always abide by the high command’s decision.


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 12:44:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-moves-to-placate-chennithala/article34851773.ece

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