Mamata should rejoin Congress, says Chennithala

May 21st, 2009 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Ramesh Chennithala, the chief architect of the Congress’ spectacular victory in Kerala in the Lok Sabha polls, has asked Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to return to the party to launch a joint fight against the Marxists in West Bengal and Kerala.
The Congress won 13 of Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha seats, up from zero in the 2004 elections, leaving the Communist Party of India-Marxist with just four. The Congress-led United Democratic Front’s total added to an impressive 16, with allies Muslim League and Kerala Congress bagging two seats and one, respectively.

And Kerala’s Congress chief Chennithala would like to repeat the same magic in West Bengal, with Banerjee’s help.

“Mamata should come back to the Congress to launch a joint fight against Marxist misrule in West Bengal and Kerala,” Chennithala told IANS in an interview here.

Mamata was expelled from the Congress 12 years ago for revolting against the state party leadership’s attitude which she said had been helping the Marxists in West Bengal. She went on to form the Trinamool Congress on Dec 23, 1997.

Recalling his days as the national president of the Youth Congress 20 years ago, Chennithala said he had given a “free hand” to Mamata, who was the West Bengal state president of the Youth Congress, to fight Marxists in her state.

“Both of us worked together as all India general secretaries of the Youth Congress when Anand Sharma was the president. When I became the president of the Youth Congress, Mamata was appointed as the West Bengal Youth Congress president,” Chennithala said.

“I, as the president of the Youth Congress, had given her a free hand in West Bengal to fight Marxists. I supported her like anything… That old Youth Congress is today’s Trinamool Congress,” he said.

Chennithala, along with other Congress leaders from Kerala, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence earlier in the week to request her to continue the alliance with the Trinamool Congress. The tie-up yielded 27 seats, leaving the ruling Left Front with just 13.

“We are excited with the performance of the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance in the elections in West Bengal. We requested Soniaji to continue the alliance with Mamata and her party,” said Chennithala, who re-energised the Congress in Kerala, which was paralysed due to the increased factionalism.

After taking charge as Congress party chief in Kerala three years ago, Chennithala said he revamped the party and strengthened its mass base.

“When I took over as the president of the state party, it was widely believed that there would be a continuation of Marxist rule in Kerala. The party was on the verge of ruin due to factionalism and mud-slinging. But I ended groupism in the party, revamped the party at the grassroots level. Now we have 18,735 elected ward Congress committees in the state,” he said.

Chennithala said the state party could bring back all leaders into the party fold.

“All of them had left the Congress due to increased factionalism in the party. Now, there is no groupism in the party. Most of them including Karunakaran have come back,” said Chennithala, who also took intiative to re-start the publication of party mouthpiece Veekshanam daily and launch a party-owned TV channel, in the state.

“All these things help us to perform well in the elections,” Chennithala said.

Asked why he rejected the offer to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Chennithala said: “As the president of the KPCC (Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee), I had the responsibility to ensure the victory of the UDF (United Democratic Front) candidates. If I had contested polls, I would have been confined to the limits of my constituency.”

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