Chandy, Chennithala stay away from UDF meeting

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 29 (IANS): The difference of opinion between the old guard in the state Congress and the party high command-backed new leadership on Monday deepened when veterans Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala stayed away from the United Democratic Front meeting, held here.

The two veterans were in the state capital city. They cast their votes in the Rajya Sabha election at the Kerala Assembly complex where the voting was taking place. The meeting was scheduled on the day of the polling as it was convenient for all to assemble, but the two did not take part in the UDF meeting.

The chairman of the UDF is the new Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan and State Congress president K.Sudhakaran, both handpicked by the party high command. They are the frontline leaders of the UDF ever since the Congress-led UDF suffered one of its worst electoral reverses, paving the way for Pinarayi Vijayan to retain power.

It was after the election defeat that the party high command stepped in and made changes. Despite Chennithala getting the majority support to again be the Leader of Opposition, Satheesan was brought in and so was Sudhakaran.

The two veterans, who for the past nearly two decades headed the rival factions and at times fought bitterly, today are hand in glove against their common 'enemy' Satheesan and Sudhakaran. Despite several pleas from the veterans to the party high command to rein in the new guard when it came to selection of new 14 district president's and the proposed reconstitution of the committee's, the veterans were miffed and Monday's boycotting of the UDF meet appeared to be their way of hitting back.

Incidentally, both Chandy and Chennithala early this month had reached Delhi and had aired their grievances to the party high command in the manner in which things are taking place in the party under Satheesan and Sudhakaran.

A source in the know of things and close to the veterans said, "They are also unhappy that the political affairs committee of the Congress party has not met under the new leadership and their pleas to the party high command appeared to have fallen on deaf ears and hence they decided to express their protests by not taking part in the UDF meeting."

But the two, however have kept away from the media on why they chose to abstain.



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