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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

‘Rahul’s emergence checked BJP move to be force in Kerala’

The Congress leader also claimed that BJP's 'fading image' was helping UDF gather more support from the majority community.

By: PTI | New Delhi | November 24, 2017 10:26:37 pm
rahul gandhi, ramesh chennithala, UDF, kerala, BJP, indian express, express online, india news, south india news, KC(M) Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala.

BJP’s move to become a prominent force in Kerala has been checked following the emergence of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi as a strong leader at the national level, leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala said on Friday, reports PTI.

Chennithala is leading a UDF “Padayorukkam” protest march from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram against the “misrule” of BJP governments at the Centre and CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala. He claimed that the future of Congress in Kerala was bright as people who had left the party have started coming back to the Congress fold.

The Congress leader also claimed that BJP’s ‘fading image’ was helping UDF gather more support from the majority community. At the same time, minorities were convinced that only Congress could effectively counter the rise of BJP at the state and the Centre, Chennithala, whose yatra entered Alappuzha district, told PTI.

Admitting that there has been a shift of Congress’s traditional votes’ towards BJP and the Left in Kerala, he said the scenario has ended and people have started reposing faith in Congress and the United Democratic Front.

“All these positive developments we witness in the state are the result of Rahul Gandhi’s continuous fight against the Modi government’s misrule for the last 42 months and his emergence as a strong leader at the national level,” he said. In a bid to reach out to former ally Kerala Congress(M), he said the party, led by veteran leader K M Mani, was a “natural ally” of UDF and there was no problem in taking them back to the UDF fold.

“Kerala Congress is our natural ally.We have no objection in taking them back. But they should take a decision first. We are very open-minded on this matter,” he said when asked about the possibility of KC(M)’s re-entry into UDF.

The “padayorukkam” will cover 140 assembly segments before concluding at Thiruvanathapuram on December 1 when Rahul Gandhi is expected to address party workers. Asked about steps he took during the yatra to increase the UDF base by adding smaller parties in its fold, he said the priority now was to strengthen the front further as a major political force in the state.

“If anybody wants to come, we will discuss further,” said Chennithala. His statement on KC(M) assume significance in the wake of that party preparing for a mega three-day conference in the second week of December at Kottayam, where it is expected to clearly state its political position. KC(M) had ended its 30-year-long alliance with Congress-led United Democratic Front in August 2016 soon after the front suffered a humiliating defeat in the Assembly polls.

Mani had announced the separation, accusing several Congress leaders of working against his party. The former Finance Minister-led KC(M) had been at loggerheads with the Congress over the bar bribery scam. He had hit out at the Congress, saying KC(M) had received only ‘insults’ and ‘humiliations’ from it.

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