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'Congress leaders in Kerala should shun public statements'

Congress leaders in Kerala should shun public statements

Thiruvananthapuram: Following a war of words between leaders of the various Congress factions in Kerala, state party president V.M. Sudheeran on Saturday asked them to desist from making public statements.

"All party leaders should refrain from making public statements... issues can be discussed in party forums," Sudheeran told reporters.

Washing dirty linen in public has been the trademark of the Congress party in Kerala and if it was kept under wraps for a while, things appear to have taken a turn following an interview given by party Vice-President V.D. Satheesan to a TV channel.

What irked the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's faction in the party was his statement which said State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala possessed all the qualities to make a good chief minister.

Satheesan also was critical of the numerous allegations of corruption that the Chandy government is facing.

On Saturday, the first to react publicly was Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh when he told reporters in Delhi that it is unfortunate that Satheesan had taken up the role of the party high command.

"Sateeshan is a power hungry person and he need not don the role of the party high command. His utterances just cannot be accepted," said Suresh.

Then came Chandy's close aide, State Information and Culture Minister K.C. Joseph, who said that it's most unfortunate that Satheesan is speaking like an opposition legislator.

"He is just one of the six vice-presidents and one can't see his statements and A.K. Antony's statements in the same way," said Joseph.

Antony the other day was unhappy of the Kerala government being caught up in various scandals and said corruption had reached an all-time high.

Over the years the Congress party in Kerala has divided and today the rival factions are being led by Chandy and Chennithala, with the former having a slight edge.

Countering the tirade launched against him, Satheesan said that he is being attacked because Antony cannot be attacked by anyone.

"I have never said that there is a need for a leadership change, my words have been twisted. All what I said was the feelings of the average Congress worker and if Joseph says things in the government are fine, then he is not living here," hit back Satheesan.

Incidentally, these resentments come at a time when Chandy enters his fifth year in office on Monday and if he is able to go the distance, he would become only the second Congress chief minister to have completed a five-year term in office

He would also become the fifth person to do so in the state.

Chandy will meet the media on Sunday and all eyes are on him.

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