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Kerala CM’s name will be decided by the party: Ramesh Chennithala

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Kerala CM's name will be decided by the party: Ramesh Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 29 (IANS) Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader, Ramesh Chennithala, has said the Chief Minister’s post will be decided by the party only after the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections.

Chennithala said he does not have any issues even if he is not considered for any post and added that he is a disciplined foot soldier of the party and his only aim is to bring the party and the United Democratic Front (UDF) back to power in the state.

He spoke exclusively to IANS on the eve of his “Aishwarya Kerala Yatra” which he will be taking out from Kasargod in the northern part of the state to the capital Thiruvananthapuram which will conclude on February 26 after covering 140 Assembly constituencies of the state. Excerpts:

Q: There are reports that after former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was reinstated as the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the Congress Election Committee there are chances of his becoming the Chief Minister if the Congress and the UDF come to power. Your comments on this?

A: Congress does not decide on the Chief Minister’s post before the election results are announced and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has made it clear that he is the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the Congress for the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections. I am a disciplined foot soldier of the Congress party. My only aim is to bring the party back to power in the state and I am not bothered even if I am not considered for any post.

Q: Kerala government has referred the Solar sex scandal case to the CBI in which a woman had lodged a complaint against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other Congress leaders. Is this political vendetta?

A: This is nothing other than political vendetta. This case was investigated by the Vigilance department of the Kerala police and three Director Generals of Police (DGPs) had investigated this case and had not found any evidence against Oomen Chandy or other Congress leaders.

Communist Party Of India (Marxist) is indulging in political vendetta and is using the central agency to settle scores with the opposition leaders. How come the CPM which has been crying foul over the CBI investigating several other cases against their own leaders have referred this case to the same investigating agency. This shows the CPM’s mindset of vengeance against political opponents.

Q: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has clarified that there is no political vendetta and it was the aggrieved woman petitioning the government for a CBI inquiry?

A: This is the ‘joke of the year’. The current Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had a full five years to conduct the investigation, however, they did conduct it and did not find an iota of evidence.

This government never conducted a CBI investigation when two minor sisters committed suicide after they were raped in Walayar. Two Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal were butchered by the CPM men and this government went to appeal even in the Supreme court spending crores of rupees on prominent lawyers against the Kerala High Court ordering a CBI inquiry in the case.

No one will believe the statement of Pinarayi Vijayan that he had referred this case to the CBI only because of the petition from the affected woman. This is political vendetta at its peak.

Q: You are taking out a yatra from Kasargod in the northern part of the state to Thiruvananthapuram from January 31 to February 26 covering all the 140 Assembly constituencies. What are the major planks of your yatra?

A: I am taking out the “Aishwarya Kerala Yatra” to connect with the people of the state and to explain to them about the misrule and corruption that took place in the state for the past five years under the CPM government of Pinarayi Vijayan.

We are all for a transparent and people-friendly government and will explain to the people about our priorities of development. We want the people of the state to live in communal harmony and peace and prevent political killings, violence and lock-up murders. So our aim is for a prosperous Kerala and is titled “Aishwarya Kerala Yatra” for a prosperous Kerala.

Q: The CPM State Secretary A. Vijayaraghavan has in a press conference on Tuesday said that your visit to meet the Muslim League State President was to bring communal elements into the mainstream; your comments on this?

A: Vijayaraghavan is turning highly communal. Muslim League is the second largest constituent in the UDF after the Kerala Congress, and I and Oommen Chandy meeting the State President of the Muslim League at his residence is a natural phenomenon. People of Kerala know what Muslim League stands for and Vijayaraghavan and CPM are now fanning Hindu communalism and this is the language of the Hindu fanatics.

The CPM is now entering into a political alliance in Tamil Nadu with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Muslim League so how can he speak like this. The CPM is a political party which thrives on such blatant lies and doublespeak.

Q: Will Congress spring some surprises in the list of candidates in the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections?

A: We have not entered into seat sharing discussions and there are broader inputs and studies on the probable candidates to be fielded in each Assembly constituencies. I can tell you that we will have several new faces and winnability is the only criteria as far as the Congress is concerned. Our leader Rahul Gandhi has already told this to the party state office bearers.

Q: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has been given the responsibility to prepare the Congress election manifesto. This is for the first time that he has been given such a responsibility by the Kerala state Congress. Will he be projected as the next Chief Minister?

A: Shashi Tharoor is a senior leader of the Congress and is a three-time Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. The party is using his expertise and exposure in various fields to prepare the election manifesto.

He will be travelling across the state to meet people and finalise an election manifesto based on the feedback from students, youths, professionals, women and all sections of the society. As far as the Chief Minister’s post is concerned, Congress is a party which decides on the Chief Minister only after the election results and the party high command will finalise the name after taking feedback from elected legislators.

Q: Rahul Gandhi is a Member of Parliament from Wayanad in Kerala. Will he be actively involved in electioneering in the state?

A: Of course, both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will be actively participating in the campaigning for the Assembly elections. We will be focusing on the ‘Nyay’ proposal put forward by Rahul Gandhi to benefit the poorest of the poor s and our campaign will revolve around that.

Our leader Rahul Gandhi will be participating in my Kerala yatra and address people in the concluding session. The presence of both these leaders will give a major boost to the electioneering of the Congress in the state.




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