Thiruvananthapuram, May 30 (IANS) The Congress in Kerala has no “issues of factionalism”, said party leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday following his selection as the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
“It was an extraordinary decision taken by former chief minister Oommen Chandy that he is not interested in taking up the post of the leader of opposition,” Chennithala told reporters here.
“Following that it came to me and my selection was unanimous. There are no issues of factionalism in the party now,” he said.
Chennithala was selected as the new Leader of Opposition on Sunday in a marathon five-hour meeting of the 22 newly elected legislators of the Congress in the presence of three representatives of the ‘high command’ — Sheila Dikshit, Mukul Wasnik and Deepak Babaria.
It was reported that there was disagreement in the state party leadership over Chennithala’s candidature even before the high command had started its deliberations.
K. Muralidharan, a former Pradesh Congress Committee president, handed over a note to V.M. Sudheeran, president of the state unit, protesting against Chennithala’s candidature.
Muralidharan reportedly said Chennithala and Chandy had agreed on the choices for Leader of Opposition and Chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF), which the Congress leads, rendering the parliamentary party meeting a pointless affair.
In the meeting, Chandy suggested the name of Chennithala and was supported by V.D. Satheesan and others.
Chennithala said on Monday that power always alternates between the two traditional rivals in Kerala — Left Democratic Front (LDF) and UDF — and his party’s hope that it would be able to break this pattern had been belied.
“A preliminary assessment was done by us and various factors contributed for our setback. We are going to have a detailed analysis next week where all will sit down for two days and discuss this,” he said.
“We will work as a constructive opposition and will take up the issues of the people very strongly.”
The Chandy-led UDF government was swept out of power in the May 16 elections in which the LDF won 91 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly.
Chennithala also said he does not foresee any cooperation on the floor of the assembly between BJP member O. Rajagopal and independent P.C. George.