Top three Kerala Congress leaders to meet Rahul Gandhi

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Thiruvananthapuram, June 10 (IANS) Senior Congress leaders in Kerala, Oommen Chandy, V.M. Sudheeran and Ramesh Chennithala are scheduled to meet party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Saturday.

Gandhi has asked the three leaders to meet him in Delhi, possibly to discuss the debacle the party suffered in the recent Assembly election in the state.

Chandy, who was Kerala Chief Minister before being routed by the Left Democratic Front (LDF), confirmed the development.

“The meeting will be held on Saturday in Delhi. Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony will join in, though I don’t know whether party President Sonia Gandhi will be at the meeting,” Chandy told IANS.

State Congress President Sudheeran and Leader of Opposition Chennithala were in Delhi earlier this month. But this will be for the first time that the three leaders will meet the Congress top brass after the party was defeated in the Assembly election held on May 16.

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According to sources, the Congress Vice President is upset because these three leaders had assured of a good show in the election, which didn’t materialise.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front could win only 47 seats in the 140-member Assembly. The Congress won just 22 seats out of the 87 seats it contested.

Meanwhile, a section of Congress leaders here have demanded that Sudheeran step down from the post of state unit president. At a meeting last week, these leaders held Sudheeran responsible for the poll debacle, saying he took an impractical stand on the issue of closing down bars. Besides, he was also instrumental in the selection of candidates for the election.

With Chandy not taking up the post of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Chennithala has got the responsibility of leading the Congress charge in the House. However, Chandy has also said that he won’t take up the position of UDF chairman.

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Chandy and Chennithala are leading two rival factions in the state Congress unit. Party activists here have been demanding that they bury the hatchet and ensure a united show against the Vijayan government in the coming days. The demand for a complete overhaul of the party unit has been placed before the Congress high command, sources told IANS.

However, sources said the high command is in a dilemma even as Sudheeran is looking for an honourable exit by securing a position at the national level.

The Kerala Assembly is slated to be in session from next month. It remains to be seen whether the uneasiness prevailing in the Congress subsides after the high command’s intervention.



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