I am not in race for state party president: Chandy National

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Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Thursday there has never been a proposal to make him the state president of the Congress party.

Speaking to IANS over phone from New Delhi, where he met with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Chandy said it was the media that was speculating and saying he was going to be the president.

“I had made my position very clear to all that I will not accept any post (Leader of Opposition, state party president or UDF chairman). They (Congress high command) know me very well and when I say something, I stick to it. And hence even in today’s meeting, the issue of their asking me to become the president never came up.

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“It was only the media that was weaving reports that I will be the president,” said Chandy, who was called to Delhi for a meeting with Gandhi.

Soon after the May 2016 debacle in the assembly polls, the Chandy had made clear that he will not accept any post, as he was heading the Congress-led United Democratic Front UDF. The poor showing saw the UDF strength in the assembly shrink to 47 seats in the 140-member assembly.

“Even though I am not taking up any post, I will be very active in the day-to-day political activities. To remain in active politics, I don’t think a political worker needs a post,” said Chandy.

Gandhi had invited Chandy and former Kerala Congress chief V.M. Sudheeran for a one-on-one meeting. Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala met the Congress Vice President last week.

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Sudheeran quit last month as party unit chief citing health reasons. The senior most Vice President of the party M.M. Hassan was asked to take over as the new president till further orders.

“Today in my meeting with Gandhi I shared my thoughts with him on what needs to be done. Very soon the party high command will announce their decision — they will decide if a new president needs be appointed, or if Hassan should continue as the organisation polls have been announced,” said Chandy.

For the past one month, a huge cross section of leaders have been demanding that for the Congress party to get a new lease of life in Kerala, Chandy should take over. This opinion was shared by senior Congress leader K. Muraleedharan, son of K. Karunakaran and a former state party president, on Wednesday too.

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Chandy has also been non-committal on ruling out becoming the president through the ballot, as the last time a state party chief was elected through the ballot was in 1992 when Vayalar Ravi defeated A.K. Antony. Since then, the presidents have been nominated by the party high command.



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