The Congress leadership on Monday nominated VM Sudheeran, former Speaker and health minister, for the post of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president.He replaces Ramesh Chennithala, who was inducted in the Oommen Chandy Cabinet as home minister recently. It also named VD Satheeshan, an MLA and a follower of Sudheeran, for the post of vice president. The decision comes as a surprise to the party’s Kerala unit, especially for chief minister Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala as they had strongly resisted the posting of Sudheeran as KPCC chief. Both, Chandy and Chennithala lobbied for Speaker G Karthikeyan.
Sudheeran is a veteran leader from Alappuzha, who belongs to the OBC Ezhava community.
Both Chandy and Chennithala had opposed him as he strongly criticised the wrong doings of the United Democratic Front ministry. On issues, like the construction of a new airport at Aranmula, he had criticised the steps taken by the government. Sudheeran, who was born in Anthikkad in Thrissur district, became president of the Kerala Students Union, the students’ wing of Congress at a young age in 1971. He became the president of the state unit of the Youth Congress in 1975 and was nominated as national general secretary in 1977. He was elected to Parliament in 1977 from the Alappuzha constituency. He was elected member in the Kerala Legislative Assembly four times beginning from 1980. In 1985, he became Speaker of the Assembly and was minister for health in the A K Antony ministry in 1995. Reacting to his elevation, Sudheeran said groupism affected the party in Kerala very badly. “I will try to lead the party to victory in the Parliament elections. That is my first priority as of now,” he said.