“What has surprised me the most is that despite being elected to the Parliament from the Kottayam constituency, Ramesh Chennithala had been a prominent presence in the locality,” says Oommen Chandy, who was talking about his relationship with the Kerala Opposition Leader. The quote has been taken from JKV Thomas’ book Ramesh Chennithala Pinnitta Vazhikal (The journey of Ramesh Chennithala), which connects almost all major events of Ramesh Chennithala.
Hon’ble Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan presented the first copy of the book, which was published by DC Books, to Cardinal Cleemis at the Royal Palace. Former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala along with his wife Anita, son Rohit, and MK Muneer were present during the event. The book also features various national and state political personalities such as former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Former Kerala CM AK Antony, KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran, Maneesh Tiwari, DK Shivakumar, and IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty and their thoughts on Chennithala.
Oommen Chandy, in the book, goes on to add that Ramesh turned the narrative of what it means to be an elected Member of the Parliament. Moreover, the senior Congress leader reminisces working with Ramesh Chennithala despite being part of separate groups. However, he says, “Just as I did, Ramesh also believed that the groups in Congress party functioned in a democratic manner, collaborating with each other.” The two has been in the same cabinet with Oommen Chandy as the Chief Minister and Ramesh Chennithala as the Home Minister, with the former adding that there haven’t been any issues between the two.
Ramesh Chennithala occupies the same spot that Chandy and AK Antony had occupied before. Chandy says that being an Opposition Leader is difficult for a Congress member unlike for a Communist party member. “They have a cadre system that means that a chain of command is followed without fail. Here we have different groups that may or may not agree with our choices,” he adds. Political experts have been opining that Ramesh Chennithala’s function as an Opposition Leader has been severely affected partly because the party’s many factions sometimes disagreed with what needs to be done.
“However, despite the limitations, Ramesh has proven to be an effective Opposition Leader. He has done what needs to be done both within and outside the Assembly,” says Oommen Chandy, adding, “Ramesh has made sure to research into his stance, accept his criticisms, and while he has been ridiculed for his views, they have stopped after learning that his claims were true. The government is on the defensive, and they have taken a U-turn on many prior decisions to save face. What more can we ask from a Congress Opposition Leader.”