Ramesh Chennithala writes to Sonia Gandhi: ‘Feel humiliated’

An upset Ramesh Chennithala has written to party president Sonia Gandhi and stated that he felt “humiliated” by the way the party's central leadership handled the matter, arguing that a senior leader like him does not deserve such a treatment.

Days after the Congress high command appointed V D Satheesan as the Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly, an upset Ramesh Chennithala has written to party president Sonia Gandhi and stated that he felt “humiliated” by the way the party’s central leadership handled the matter, arguing that a senior leader like him does not deserve such a treatment.

Sources privy to the letter said Chennithala, who was denied a second term as Leader of Opposition, has said he would have gladly accepted the leadership’s decision despite the fact that he had support of the majority of newly elected Congress MLAs in Kerala, as well as senior leaders, had he got an indication of the high command’s desire to appoint a new leader.

The sources said Chennithala pointed out that after Congress’s defeat in the Assembly polls he was willing to make way for another leader as Leader of Opposition, but that a majority of leaders, including former CM Oommen Chandy, felt that he should continue to keep the UDF together. Chennithala was hesitant even thereafter, sources said.

According to sources, Chandy and Chennithala had spoken with AICC general secretary in charge of Organisation, K C Venugopal, who purportedly told him that the high command has no particular view on the issue. Sources said the leaders were also informed by Mallikarjun Kharge, who was one of the AICC observers who met the newly elected Kerala MLAs, that the party high command had an “open mind” on appointment of the new Leader of Opposition.

Sources said Chennithala was under the impression that since the high command does not have any particular view on the matter it would go by the majority opinion in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). Interestingly, some top party leaders had earlier said that Satheesan had majority support in CLP.

But the sudden decision to replace him, Chennithala is learnt to have written, has “shocked” and “pained” him. He has argued that the way he was replaced was akin to “humiliating” a leader of his seniority. He wrote that he does not deserve such a treatment from the high command, it is learnt.

He is learnt to have argued that it was also not the way to deal with a highly politically sensitive state like Kerala.

Chennithala is a former national president of the Indian Youth Congress and NSUI, and a former member of the CWC. He was president of the state Congress for nine years, and is a four-time MP and five-term MLA.

Sources in state Congress said Chennithala and those close to him feel “insulted” by the manner in which he was replaced.

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