Ramesh Chennithala finds himself sidelined in Kerala’s Congress

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Signalling changing power equations in the state Congress, senior leader Ramesh Chennithala, who played a crucial role in ensuring K Sudhakaran’s return as the state party chief, is finding himself increasingly sidelined within the UDF by a caucus from his own party.

The Congress Working Committee member was not even informed of the UDF meeting held last Saturday at Cantonment House.

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan and UDF convener M M Hassan, who held the office of the KPCC president when Sudhakaran stepped down briefly after being named the party candidate from Kannur, have allegedly teamed up against Chennithala, a source close to him said. It was Chennithala along with party veteran A K Antony who had spoiled attempts by a a section of Congress leaders to see that Sudhakaran is not reinstated as state Congress chief.

Antony and Chennithala impressed upon the Congress high command the need to reinstate Sudhakaran at the earliest. They had made it clear that any attempt to disgrace Sudhakaran would leave the party rank and file demoralised.

A source close to Chennithala told TNIE that the senior leader was not informed about Saturday’s UDF meet.

“Chennithala had gone to Saudi Arabia on May 23 and was scheduled to return the next day. Hassan’s office informed Chennithala’s personal staff that the UDF meeting is scheduled for May 25. But strangely neither Hassan nor Satheesan called Chennithala directly which has left him disappointed. He suspects that they did not bother to call him as he rooted for Sudhakaran,” the source said.

Annoyed at this, Chennithala made last-minute changes to his itinerary and flew down to Dubai from Saudi. He is scheduled to reach Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

A UDF leader who attended Saturday’s meeting said, “Hassan had reported at the meet that Chennithala is abroad and hence would not be attending. Both Hassan and Satheesan are hand in glove these days. Chennithala is being sidelined by the duo of late,” he said.

“By the time Hassan called Chennithala, he had left for Saudi. His personal staff members were informed about the UDF meet. This is much ado about nothing,” he added.

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