Chandy, Chennithala to meet Rahul

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has summoned former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala to Delhi. They will meet on Thursday to help Gandhi pick a new state unit chief.

Gandhi is seeking a younger crop of leaders, an informed source said. He is focussing on the second generation of leaders. The front runners include V.D. Sateeshan and P.C. Vishunath -- all below the age of 50.

The new state president will replace M.M. Hassan, who was brought in as an interim president after V.M. Sudheeran quit in 2017.

Over the years, the Congress in Kerala has been divided for well over three decades between former Chief Ministers K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony. With the turn of the 21st century, the baton has passed on to Chandy and Chennithala.

Chandy was defeated in the May 2016 Assembly polls. He has since refused to accept any post.

Former Defence Minister Antony was made the state president when he was just 32 and Chief Minister at 37.

All senior leaders have had a long run and must now make way for the younger leaders, said a party leader who did not wish to be named.

The 77-year-old Antony has quit from state politics. But he is a key decision-maker when it comes to Kerala and Gandhi holds him in high esteem. Chandy, a two-time Chief Minister, now at 74 continues to be the biggest crowd puller for the party in the state.