Alappuzha/Kottayam | Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala is said to be upset over the new list of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in which he was named as a permanent invitee, sources close to him said on Monday.
Chennithala, under whose leadership leaders like AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan worked during his good old days in the party, was hoping to get recognition as a CWC member, the sources said.
However, the senior leader was included in the key committee of the Congress as a permanent invitee, a post he had held 19 years ago, while Shashi Tharoor, who joined the party only over a decade ago, was made a CWC member, they claimed.
Chennithala has refused to speak to the media on the matter, considering the ongoing campaign for the bypoll being held in the Puthuppally Assembly Constituency, which was necessitated due to the demise of former chief minister Oommen Chandy last month.
The senior leader, however, has conveyed his displeasure to the top leadership of the party, the source said.
"He feels humiliated once again. Earlier, he was denied the post of Leader of Opposition after the 2021 Assembly polls," a source told PTI.
Reacting to the queries on the non-inclusion of Chennithala in the CWC,
AICC general secretary Venugopal, who is in Alappuzha today, told media that the Congress has the ability to neatly solve the problems in-house.
"Ramesh Chennithala is not only the Kerala leader of the party, he is also one of the important leaders of Congress in India. If he has any difficulty (in connection with the CWC list), the party leadership will not hesitate to solve it," Venugopal said.
The AICC general secretary (Organisation) said that the party will use the services of Chennithala.
Venugopal further said that as per the decision taken in Chintan Shivir, the reorganisation was done by ensuring 50 per cent representation for leaders belonging to backward, SC/ST and minority communities, and he termed the CWC list "a revolutionary" one.
Later in the day, Chennithala told reporters that the Puthuppally bypoll was the only agenda before him presently as he was attempting to ensure a historic majority for the candidate of the Congress-led UDF, Chandy Oommen.
He, however, did not say a word about the CWC matter, saying his focus was to ensure the victory of Ommen Chandy's son, Chandy Oommen. He said he will react on other matters after the byelection.
"That (the bypoll) is the most important thing before me now. Nothing else matters presently. I will talk about the other issues after September 6," he said.
Chennithala, a Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, said that he was part of the bypoll campaigning on all days since August 14 except one, and going
forward he was completely focused on achieving a huge victory in the Puthuppally bypoll.
"I am an ordinary party worker using his full strength to achieve the target of a huge victory. I am focused only on that now. The rest of the things I will consider after September 6," he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition Satheesan said Chennithala was not dissatisfied with the list.
Sudhakaran, speaking to reporters at Kannur, asked: "Can everyone be appointed to a post?"
He said that he does not think Chennithala has a problem with not being part of the CWC.
"I spoke to him. He did not say anything about it. He appeared content. If he did not say anything, it means he has no complaints," Sudhakaran, also an MP, said.
LoP Satheesan said that Chennithala was a leader who stood firmly with any decision taken by the national leadership of the Congress.
Chennithala came to know about the list on Sunday afternoon while campaigning for Congress candidate Chandy Oommen in Puthuppally.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday reconstituted the party's top decision-making body - CWC - with some leaders of the G23 grouping, including in it Tharoor and Anand Sharma, who were critical of the party leadership in the past among the 84 members.
The all-important Congress Working Committee, formed 10 months after Kharge took charge after defeating Tharoor, includes several young faces who are below the age of 50, leaders from weaker sections, and 15 women.
The new CWC has 39 regular members, 32 permanent invitees, including some in-charges of states, and 13 special invitees, including presidents of the Youth Congress, the National Students' Union of India, the Mahila Congress, and the Seva Dal as ex-officio members.