Chennithala says he's relieved now, trashes rumours on shift to national politics after meeting Rahul

Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala

Rahul Gandhi's meeting with Ramesh Chennithala on Friday appears to have had a healing effect on the senior Congress leader from Kerala who was hurt after his unceremonious exit from the Leader of the Opposition's post soon after the party's drubbing in the state elections.

Coming out of the meeting in Delhi, Chennithala said he was totally satisfied and relieved after the meeting with the former Congress chief. He said the Congress in Kerala would march ahead in unity. 

Chennithala met Gandhi amid speculations that he would be accommodated in the national leadership of the party. There are reports that he would be made an AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab or Gujarat. 

The senior leader, however, said no such discussion took place in his meeting with Gandhi. "I have neither demanded any post nor offered anything. I'm ready to continue as an ordinary party worker under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi," he said. 

Chennithala also disclosed he shared his concerns and assessment of the Congress's defeat in the Kerala assembly elections with the former Congress chief. Chennithala added he also shared veteran leader Oommen Chandy's concerns with Gandhi. 

"Rahul Gandhi said he would call Oommen Chandy in the evening," Chennithala said.

Chennithala was summoned to Delhi by Gandhi after it became evident that the former was not happy with the way the central leadership effected a leadership change in the party's Kerala unit recently.

The party high command made crucial appointments of the Leader of the Opposition, KPCC president and working presidents without heeding to the interests of the two factions led by Chandy and Chennithala.

The high command picked V D Satheesan as the opposition leader despite Chennithala making all efforts to retain the post even with the support of Chandy. After Satheesan's appointment, a miffed Chennithala said he would have opted out of the race had the high command given him a hint that it wanted a leadership change.  The central leadership appointed K Sudhakaran the new president of the party's state unit, KPCC, in yet another blow to the Chandy-Chennithala axis who used to share the key posts among their supporters.

The recent appointments have in effect silenced both the A and I factions led by Chandy and Chennithala respectively. Chennithala had made his complaints public at the venue where Sudhakaran assumed the office of the PCC chief the other day. On the occasion, Chennithala warned Sudhakaran of possible backstabbing by those who offer support in public.

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