The Congress party in Kerala received a jolt on Friday, October 1, with senior leader Ramesh Chennithala quitting four posts which he had been holding. A legislator from Haripad constituency in Alappuzha, Chennithala was the opposition leader during the first Pinarayi Vijayan government from 2016 to May 2021. On Friday, Chennithala quit from top posts at the party television channel, Jaihind TV, party mouthpiece Veekshenem Daily, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies, an academic institution backed by the party, and the K Karunakaran Foundation in the name of the late Chief Minister.
Chennithala’s move came days after former president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) VM Sudheeran quit the political affairs committee of the party and resigned membership of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Chennithala held crucial positions in these organisations, as he was the state party president from 2005 to 2014, and was also the State Home Minister from January 2014 to May 2016 apart from holding the post of Opposition Leader. The Congress had a huge setback in the Assembly elections held in May. Post this, the party High Command intervened and appointed VD Satheesan to the post of opposition leader, while K Sudhakaran replaced Mullappally Ramachandran as the KPCC Chief.
Since then, Chennithala has reportedly been unhappy with how the high command intervened to select the 14 district party presidents, and the high command’s decision not to go after veteran faction leaders like Oommen Chandy and Chennithala. Both the leaders alleged that they weren’t properly consulted in the selection of Congress district party chiefs.
Incidentally, Chennithala's resignation comes at a time when the high command is all set to reconstitute the KPCC. Some other leaders like KP Anilkumar and AV Gopinath had quit the party owing to differences in the selection of DCC presidents.