KOTTAYAM/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To ease the tension that has been prevailing in the state Congress since the appointment of new district congress committee chiefs, senior leaders have initiated conciliatory talks. On Sunday, opposition leader V D Satheesan met former chief minister Oommen Chandy at Puthuppally and former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala at Haripad.
Satheesan had one-to-one interaction with both leaders. On Monday, both Chandy and Chennithala will have another round of discussion with Satheesan in the presence of state Congress president K Sudhakaran in Thiruvananthapuram.
What has hastened up the talks is the reluctance of Congress high command to escalate the issue to New Delhi. Though senior leaders close to Chandy and Chennithala expected the Congress national president to summon both leaders for talks in Delhi, AICC former president Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have told general secretary K C Venugopal that issue should be resolved in the state.
AICC general secretary Tariq Anwar, who will reach here on Wednesday to address a meeting of new DCC presidents, will also join the efforts to clear all misunderstandings and initiate reorganisation of the state Congress with the support of all senior leaders. Satheesan was given a warm welcome at Chandy’s ancestral home in Puthuppally and both leaders had a meeting for over 45 minutes.
Confident all issues will be resolved: Satheesan
“Being at the helm of the Congress in the state, I and KPCC president are responsible to settle the issues in the party. And I wished to start our mission in this regard by visiting senior-most and experienced leaders like Oommen Chandy. I have confidence that entire issues in the party will be resolved and talks in this regard will continue,” Opposition leader V D Satheesan said. He said there would never be situations that would create difficulties for senior leaders.
“It is a fact that there are some issues in the party. We can’t ignore it. But all such issues will be resolved through the intervention of the leadership. We are planning to meet all senior leaders as part of resolving the issues. Congress has a collective leadership and no one is above or below others,” he said. Oommen Chandy expressed hope that issues will be resolved through talks to be initiated by the new leadership. “The recent issues in the party created some difficult situations and it hurt too.
However, I agree with the Opposition leader’s stance that issues could be resolved through talks. Congress is a democratic organisation and talks are essential to resolve issues. I will cooperate with any attempt to resolve those issues through talks,” Chandy said. To a question, Chandy said party was his first priority and group comes only second. Satheesan also met senior leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan at the latter’s residence in Kottayam before leaving for Haripad.
Thiruvanchoor who had been a staunch loyalist of Chandy has recently moved away from ‘A’ group and offered support to the new leadership. At Haripad, Satheesan heard the complaints of Chennithala patiently and repeated that the path of consensus will be followed by the new leadership. After the meeting, Chennithala said that he welcomed the initiative taken by Satheesan. “I will cooperate with all discussions, “ he said. On Monday, cantonment house -- official residence of opposition leader in the capital - will be the scene of hectic parleys.
Chandy and Chennithala will hold a talk with Satheesan and Sudhakaran at 9am. In the afternoon, a meeting of the UDF high power committee is scheduled. The four leaders are expected to present a united face in the UDF meeting. Constituent parties are upset over the bickerings within Congress and the displeasure had been made public by RSP leaders. On Monday, Muslim League, RSP and Kerala Congress senior leaders will attend the meeting along with leaders of other constituent parties.