After Sudhakaran-Sudheeran public spat, Chennithala calls for peace in Congress

Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the leadership of the party in Kerala should not violate the party high commandSu’s directives.
Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh ChennithalaFile picture
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A day after two top Congress leaders in Kerala – state party president K Sudhakaran and former president VM Sudheeran – clashed publicly, another former Congress president and senior legislator Ramesh Chennithala asked everyone in the party to maintain peace. Chennithala said that with the Lok Sabha elections around the corner it’s of utmost importance that the leadership of the party should not engage in violating the party high command’s directives and that everyone should ensure discipline.

“If there are any issues that Sudheeran has, the President and Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan should talk it over and settle all issues,” said Chennithala. 

The history of factionalism in the Congress party in Kerala can be traced back to the times when the legendary K Karunakaran and AK Antony were the faction leaders. It began in the 70s and continued for three decades and on most occasions, it was the former who had the last laugh.

After them, the respective factions were headed by Oommen Chandy, who replaced Antony, and Chennithala who was the protégé of Karunakaran.

Things changed for the party after Sudheeran’s surprise selection for the post of party president in 2014. Until then Chandy had reigned supreme and though the two were top leaders in the erstwhile Antony faction, Chandy had come under severe pressure from Sudheeran over a liquor policy. It ended with the rout of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) at the 2016 Assembly polls and at the 2021 Assembly polls during which the Left Democratic Front came to power twice. 

Following this, Sudheeran quit the post and had been keeping aloof. Last week, after a long gap, he took part in the leadership meeting of the party and lashed out at Sudhakaran.

Sudhakaran slammed Sudheeran in the media and retaliating to this Sudheeran said that he has been in the party for long, unlike some others. Sudhakaran is junior to Sudheeran in the party, and he joined the Congress from another party.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said that the Congress party will never learn from its mistakes as any aberration in unity will affect its fortunes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“The sooner these leaders end it, the better it is for the Congress. Just look at the Left, it’s been nearly eight years since Vijayan is at the helm and there are numerous allegations that have hit the government. Was there even a murmur in the Left? The Congress party here has to mend its ways,” said the critic.

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