Congress starts firefighting in Kerala as Satheesan meets Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala

VD Satheesan and Oommen Chandy.
VD Satheesan, Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala.

In what could be the first step in resolving the ongoing crisis in the Congress's Kerala unit, Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan on Sunday met party veterans Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala. Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, the two senior leaders who had led the party for nearly the past two decades, have been sulking recently over the restructuring of the party's state leadership.

Satheesan met Chandy at his house in Puthuppally in the morning and Chennithala at his office in Alappuzha in the evening.

After the meeting with Chandy, Satheesan said all the issues within the party will be resolved through talks while the former chief minister welcomed the proposal. Satheesan said there was no point in turning a blind eye towards the issues. “We will meet all the senior leaders. The party will rise up to the occasion as the party workers, society and our well-wishers desire,” the leader of the opposition said. 

“A little bit of bitterness in relationship will eventually make the bonding stronger,” Satheesan said.

Asked if the meeting could be seen as a sign of the new leadership surrendering to pressure tactics of factional leaders, Satheesan said “that you can interpret in any way as per your discretion. There is no competition going on in the party to decide who has won or who has lost.”

Chandy said it is a fact that some recent developments in the party have pained him. “I agree with Satheesan's promise that the issues will be resolved through talks. Congress is a democratic party. If there are issues within it, they should be resolved through talks.”

Asked if the relevance of groups has ended in the party, Chandy said, “Congress has to move forward. Congress first, group second.”

After the meeting with Chennithala, Satheesan exuded confidence that the party can tide over the latest crisis. “Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala are leaders who can guide the present leadership. Both of them have offered cooperation to settle the issues. We will be treading a path of consensus,” Satheesan said.

Chennithala said he was welcoming Satheesan's attempts to solve the issues.

Chandy heads the A faction in the Congress's Kerala unit while Chennithala leads the I group. The two groups used to be traditionally rivals, but the changing power equations in the party have brought them together recently. 

Satheesan visits Thiruvanchoor
After visiting Chandy, Satheesan also paid a visit to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, another prominent leader from Kottayam. Thiruvanchoor said the visit was a part of the state leadership's plan to meet all senior leaders.

"They want to take along everyone. That's also my wish. This is a time when all of us should rally behind the AICC and KPCC," Thiruvanchoor said.

He said the atmosphere of camaraderie has improved at the party. Thiruvanchoor used to be a key part of the A group. He, however, has distanced himself from the group and has been supporting the new leadership of late.


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