Hours after the AICC came out with the decision to appoint V.D. Satheesan as the new Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday called up senior leader Oommen Chandy and outgoing leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, to pacify them.
Incidentally, the AICC delegation led by Upper House Leader of Opposition Malikarjuna Kharghae and former Puducherry Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam arrived in the state capital and had a one-on-one talk with all the 21 legislators and in it Chennithala had got the support of the maximum legislators, even though the other contestants who expressed their desire was Satheesan, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and P.T. Thomas.
But when the news came out that Chandy, even though leads his own faction, like Chennithala leads his, Chandy surprised everyone when he decided to support Chennithala for another term, but a huge barrage of critical comments surfaced in the social media, especially slamming Chandy that under no circumstances should Chennithala be given a fresh term.
A source in the know of things revealed that Sonia Gandhi called both these top leaders and pacified them and sought their support.
An angry Chennithala did not give any sound bytes when the media got around him and he said he has already given a statement and will meet later.
Chandy, the more seasoned veteran who has seen highs and lows, maintained his cool and told the media that the AICC decision is final and it has been accepted as he always does.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said, Chandy is a master politician and is the one who has successfully taken on with huge success even a top notch leader like K. Karunakaran, at his prime.
“He is not someone who is street smart, but is a tactical politician and knows the pulse and plays his cards close to his chest. Even when he was shocked beyond anyone can think, when he heard the appointment of V.M. Sudheeran as the new party president towards the fag end of his term as Chief minister (2011-16), he maintained cool. Now that he is 77 and with fragile health, Chandy will now move forward as an elder statesman of the party with the tag, he could well be the last Congress politician who has a pan-Kerala acceptance. It’s here that Satheesan has his task cut out, if he can prove his mettle,” said the critic.
Incidentally, all those who follow Congress politics in Kerala closely, said that the high command’s decision, of late has done more harm than good and they all say the party here has not recovered after Sudheeran was appointed as president.
Now with Satheesan firmly in the saddle, much to the dislike of all the seniors in the party, all eyes are on who would get the call to take over as the new president of the party, as the generational change will be complete, only if veteran Mullapally Ramachandran, the present president, who has already gone on record to state that he is ready to abide as a disciplined party worker what the high command says, and hence a new president is round the corner to take over.