Congressmen in Kerala put on united face, announce statewide yatra

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 31 (IANS) Leaders of various factions in the Kerala unit of the Congress on Thursday played down their differences while announcing a statewide yatra (march).

“I will lead a statewide yatra of the party on January 4 from Kasargode district and end it here on February 9,” Congress Kerala unit chief V.M. Sudheeran told a joint press conference at the party headquarters here in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.

He denied that the press conference was called as per Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s directive, as reported in the media here. Sonia Gandhi visited the southern state on Wednesday.

The factional fight in the Congress in Kerala picked up pace when a letter allegedly written by Chennithala to the party high command surfaced in the media after the poor performance of the ruling party in the civic body elections in November.

When asked about the letter, Chandy sidestepped the issue and even challenged the media to produce it.

“We are not going to make the letter an issue since it will involve registeration of a case against the newspaper that published it,” the chief minister said.

“We have been winning all polls in recent times… the civic polls were an exception. Sudheeran’s yatra will make a connection with the people. We are confident of returning to power in the state,” Chandy said.

Chennithala said difference of opinion was quite natural in a democratic party like theirs.

“We are united like never before. This yatra will help us convey this government’s performance to the masses and warm up our cadres ahead of the assembly polls,” Chennithala said.

The assembly polls are expected to be held in Kerala in April/May.

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