Ramesh Chennithala elected Opposition leader in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 20, 2018

Ramesh Chennithala

Ramesh Chennithala

K Muralidharan, a few others unhappy with the process

A meeting of the Congress MLAs here on Sunday elected former Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala as the Leader of Opposition in the new Kerala Assembly.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy proposed Chennithala’s name as the two leaders of rival Congress factions braced themselves for a term in the Opposition.

High Command approval

Top echelons in the national party leadership have extended approval to Chennithala’s election. Mukul Wasnik, Deepak Babaria and Sheila Dixit represented the party high command.

A new leader for the legislature party had become inevitable as Chandy had expressed unwillingness after the UDF suffered a massive defeat in the elections.

Earlier, projecting a candidate for the position of the Leader of Opposition even before the high command could sit down to business had created discord among the State party leadership.

K Muralidharan, senior leader, a former Pradesh Congress Committee president and son of late K Karunakaran, handed over a protest note to the leadership.

While choosing not to attend the meeting of the MLAs that began at 12 am, Muralidharan ‘gave a piece of his mind’ in the note to VM Sudheeran, president of the State unit.

Chandy to head UDF

On Friday, Chennithala and Chandy were agreed on as choices for Leader of Opposition and Chairman of the UDF at a meeting they had held with Sudheeran.

This had been widely publicised by the local media over the last couple of days. That being the case, what was the purpose of the parliamentary party meeting, Muralidharan wondered.

Deepak Babaria, secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and member of the high command team, too had expressed displeasure over the manner in which the House leader was sought to be named. He had pitched for a new face for the position.

Meanwhile, sources said Muralidharan and a few other leaders of the party have described the meeting of the local triumvirate as an ‘exercise in self-deception.’

Published on May 29, 2016

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