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Kerala state Congress president Sudheeran resigns, leaving leadership surprised

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-03-2017 Nidheesh M.K.

Bengaluru: V.M. Sudheeran, president of the Congress party’s Kerala unit, has announced his resignation, citing health reasons.

Sudheeran said at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram that his failing health—he suffered a fall during a party event in Kozhikode two days ago after which doctors advised him to rest at least for three months—is not allowing him to travel and perform other tasks.

He said he hadn’t discussed his resignation with close colleagues. Neither did he inform the Congress’s central leadership in advance—as is the practice—because he was unsure if the resignation would be accepted.

However, he sought the approval of A K Antony, the first in the Congress line of command in Kerala, before making up his mind, Sudheeran said. The resignation will be faxed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi later on Friday, he said.

The move came as a surprise even to senior Congress leaders. “I came to know of this just five minutes before Sudheeran went to the press,” said Ramesh Chennithala, leader of the opposition in the Kerala assembly.

“I had visited him yesterday night after hearing he is unwell... It is purely a resignation based on personal reasons,” Chennithala added.

By stepping down, Sudheeran may be setting off significant churning in the Congress in Kerala. He was hand-picked by Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi to head the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in 2014, despite opposition from senior leaders like Oommen Chandy and Chennithala.

Congress leaders are not ruling out former chief minister Chandy’s return to active politics as the new head of the party in Kerala. He has been keeping a low profile since the defeat of the party in last year’s assembly election.

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