Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: V D Satheesan will be the new Leader of the Opposition in Kerala. The Congress central leadership has conveyed its decision to the state leadership, KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran said on Saturday.
Ramachandran said the decision was conveyed to him by AICC observer Mallikarjun Kharge and AICC secretary Tariq Anwar.
Ramachandran was all praise for Ramesh Chennithala who was the Leader of the Opposition in the previous assembly. He said Chennithala's name will be scripted in history as one of the best LoPs in Kerala. There were reports that Chennithala wanted to continue in the position.
Satheesan was elected from the Paravur constituency for the fifth consecutive term.
"We will work together. We will work hard to overcome the current crisis," an elated Satheesan told Onmanorama after the announcement came.
Though identified as a part of the Ramesh Chennithala-led 'I' group, Satheesan has been picked as the LoP despite opposition from Chennithala and Oommen Chandy, who leads the rival 'A' faction.
There were demands from various corners to make Satheesan the Leader of the Opposition as a generational shift in leadership is necessary for the party's survival in Kerala following the drubbing in the assembly elections.
Satheesan, known for his oratory skills inside and outside the assembly, has functioned as a KPCC vice president and AICC secretary. He has also headed Assembly PAC and Estimates Committee. It is learnt that Satheesan had the support of MLAs and MPs cutting across the groups. They conveyed their support to the AICC observers when they met them in Kerala recently. Satheesan also had the backing of UDF allies who were disappointed with the Congress leadership.
Satheesan, if appointed, will be the first Leader of the Opposition from Ernakulam district.
We will work together. We will work hard to overcome the current crisis
Extending congratulations to Satheesan, Chennithala said on Saturday that he accepts the High Command's selection of Satheeshan as Congress Parliamentary Party leader.
Senior Congress leader and MP K Sudhakaran termed the move as the proof for democratic parctices within the party. "Ramesh Chennithala did not lack anything as the LoP. But the majority opinion was that the party needed a generation shift," Sudhakaran said in Kannur.
Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden said the High Command made a democratic decision that looked beyond the groups within the party.
VD Satheesan speaks to Ragesh G of Onmanorama in an exclusive pre-poll interview: