INTUC-Satheesan rift widens, Chandrasekharan has some history lessons for opposition leader

INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan
INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan. Screengrab/MMTV

After meeting KPCC president K Sudhakaran in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan told reporters that the trade union he led was indeed a feeder organisation of Indian National Congress.

This was in response to opposition leader V D Satheesan's angry remark on March 29 that INTUC was not a feeder organisation of the Congress. With a preface that it is important to understand history, Chandrasekharan said that both All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) had issued circulars in which INTUC was listed as a feeder organisation of Indian National Congress.

A top Congress source said that Chandrasekharan had complained to the KPCC president during their meeting on Monday that Satheesan's arbitrary remark had deeply hurt INTUC members. He had reportedly told Sudhakaran that Satheesan's stance had sullied the public image of INTUC.

At the media briefing, however, the INTUC leader did not attack the opposition leader directly. Yet, it was clear that all his historical reminders were attempts to counter Satheesan's attempts to alienate INTUC from the Congress.

For instance, Chandrasekharan said that all top Congress leaders, right from Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel, had taken part in all the major INTUC events. He said that in 2009, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said in a written message that INTUC was an integral part of the Congress. What's more, even Satheesan was taking part in the Platinum Jubilee of INTUC's foundation in May.

Further, he said that everyone roped in as an INTUC member would automatically become a Congress worker.

V D Satheesan
Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan

The INTUC state president also said that the KPCC president was the last word in the Congress, hinting that Sudhakaran would correct Satheesan later in the day. During the course of the day, the KPCC president will meet with opposition leader V D Satheesan and then the two will hold a meeting with Chandrasekharan. After this, the INTUC-Satheesan spat is expected to get an official burial.

Satheesan had seemingly distanced the Congress from the INTUC in the backdrop of the violent incidents reported as part of the two-day national strike declared by trade unions against the anti-worker policies of the BJP government on March 28 and 29. Satheesan was also displeased that the INTUC had joined the Left unions, CITU and AITUC, in a protest march against Asianet News.

KPCC president Sudhakaran and Chandrasekharan. Screengrab/MMTV

Chandrasekharan seemed unapologetic about the violence. "We had appealed to the people, through the media and otherwise, to keep off the roads during the two days. Some people who did not listen to us and some who had emergencies would have been put to some inconvenience. But these stray incidents should not be used to demonise the entire workers who were part of the strike," Chandrasekharan said.

As for the protest against Asianet, the INTUC leader said he joined the protest because he too had felt slighted during the evening News Hour show.

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