Congress MLA Satheesan to be Leader of Opposition in Kerala assembly


PTI, May 22, 2021, 1:41 PM IST

 

Congress leader V D Satheesan was made the leader of opposition in Kerala, replacing senior leader Ramesh Chennithala, bringing about a long-awaited generation shift in the state Congress unit.

Congress high command took the decision to make Satheesan Congress legislative party leader considering the strong demand from young leaders in Kerala, overcoming the strong demand by a section of senior leaders for retaining Chennithala. The middle-aged and young leaders of the party overwhelmingly welcomed the decision.

The decision is a setback to groups in Congress led by prominent leaders like Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennitala, who were pressing to retain Chennithala. There were unconfirmed reports that Chennithala had congratulated Satheesan over the phone.

A native of Ernakulam district in Kerala, Satheesan is a five-time legislator from Paravur in the district. A post-graduate in law, Satheesan is considered to be a well-read leader who enjoys mass connect. He entered mainstream politics through trade unions and has been president of over 20 trade unions. He also fights for environmental issues.

Satheesan said he was confident of reviving the grand old party from the setbacks it now faced. He also said that the opposition will give its unconditional support to all efforts of the government in fighting Covid-19. He said that a change was required in Congress’s style of functioning. The Congress-led UDF will be launching an uncompromised fight against communalism, he said.

Meanwhile, sources in Congress said that a call for change in the state PCC president post may also emerge in the due course. Lok Sabha MP K Sudhakaran had even openly expressed his wish to be KPCC president replacing Mullappally Ramachandran. The present decision of the CPM in Kerala to bring in more youngsters to the forefront put pressure on senior leaders of Congress to give way for the next generation.

There were reports that the Oommen Chandy loyalists were pushing to retain Chennithala as opposition leader and in return, a Chandy loyalist may be projected as Kerala PCC president. The young leaders of the Congress had strongly opposed this and batted for Satheesan. This prompted the national leadership, especially Rahul Gandhi, to zero in on Satheesan itself, said a party source.

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