Congress leader AV Gopinath announced his resignation from the party in Kerala, nearly 50 years after being with it. Calling a press meet on Monday, Gopinath said that he took the decision after a lot of thinking and finding himself an “obstacle” for the party’s progress. The declaration came a day after the Congress announced names of the 14 new district presidents in Kerala. Reportedly, Gopinath’s name was among the contenders for the post of Palakkad District Congress Committee (DCC) president but eventually A Thankappan was chosen for the post. Gopinath was also a former Member of Legislative Assembly from Alathur in Palakkad, former panchayat president of Peringottukurissi and former DCC president of Palakkad. He was also a member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) before his resignation from the primary membership of the party.
Two other Congress leaders were suspended by the party on Saturday, following their public expression of disapproval of the DCC presidents list. “I would like to put all doubts and assumptions and rumours to rest. I have held the INC (Indian National Congress) close to my heart for 50 years. I loved Congress more than my family, as an ordinary worker of the party. But it is not right to be an obstacle in the party’s way forward. So I am resigning from the primary membership. From this moment on, I am no longer a Congressman,” Gopinath said, amidst applause from his supporters.
A number of party members of the Peringottukurissi panchayat stood outside, cheering him on, telling the media later on that they will always stand with Gopinath. They hailed the work he did for the panchayat and the party. The Hindu reports that he was promised the post of DCC president after he raised a banner of revolt ahead of the State Assembly elections in April, alleging that he was being sidelined by the party.
In his Monday meeting, Gopinath however repeatedly spoke of his respect and love for party leaders – from KPCC president K Sudhakaran to veterans like Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala. But the leader he considers as god is the late Karunakaran, Gopinath said, and his supporters gave another round of applause.
Watch: Gopinath announce his resignation from Congress
There were rumours about his plan to join the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M), the party leading the ruling Left Democratic Front in the state. Denying any immediate move, Gopinath said that he needed time to let Congress out of his heart before considering anything else. However he didn’t shy away from lauding Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan calling him a courageous leader. “I heard that the CM spoke of me as a special type of person. It is because I have been one that I could work so hard for Congress. I have never tried to lick anyone’s boots to get a position in the party or to make money. I want to say sorry to all those who have loved and supported me and are disturbed by my decision, and thank everyone who stood with me,” Gopinath said.