Veteran Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who was recently replaced by his junior V D Satheesan as the Leader of the Opposition in Kerala assembly, has conveyed his displeasure to the party central leadership over the manner in which he was removed from the top post.
In a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi, Chennithala has reportedly said he felt insulted with the decision. He said he would have stepped down from the post willingly if he was informed about the plan to replace him.
He said his fight against the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government as the leader of the opposition did not get due support from the party.
Chennithala has not reacted to the media about the letter.
Five-time Congress legislator V D Satheesan on Saturday was appointed by the AICC as the new Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly.
The decision to bring a vibrant leader like Satheesan to the top post is seen as the first step of the AICC effecting a generation change in the Kerala unit of the party.
Over the years the Congress in Kerala has been held tightly under the faction leaders like two-time Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Chennithala.
Following the rout of the Congress led UDF in the April 6 assembly polls when incumbent Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan won a resounding victory when it increased their tally from 91 seats to 99 in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, cries had begun that the need of the hour is to infuse young blood and the veterans have to move out.
Chennithala was hopeful of retaining the post of the LoP for another term especially since his factional rival Chandy had also backed him. However, the AICC made the decision apparently as majority of the MLAs and MPs, especially the young generation, were in favour of a leadership change.
Chennithala was initially reluctant to react to the high command decision. He restricted his first response to a mere congratulatory note to Satheesan. Later, Satheesan met him at his house ahead of the first assembly session and Chennithala told the media that Satheesan was like a brother to him.
Hours after the AICC came out with the decision to appoint Satheesan as the new Leader of Opposition, Sonia Gandhi had called up senior leader Oommen Chandy and outgoing leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, to pacify them.
Sonia Gandhi called both these top leaders and pacified them and sought their support.