All parties should join hands for Kerala’s development: Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram, May 16 (IANS) All parties should come together to work for the development of Kerala and the Congress was willing to take the lead in starting such a dialogue, the party’s state president Ramesh Chennithala said Thursday.

Chennithala told reporters that he had said at the beginning of his month-long campaign of the state that there would be a change in political thinking once it ended.

“We, the Congress party, are ready to join hands with all other parties for the upliftment of our state. We should work together for our state,” Chennithala said.

He began his road tour April 18 and ends it at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border near here Thursday night.

“We have no hesitation in taking the lead in starting a dialogue with all other political parties and we wish to know if the CPI-M is ready for it,” he said, referring to the main opposition party.

“We want to move away from the conventional style in which parties work. We feel the need of the hour is to work for the needs of the people.”

The grand finale of the cross-state campaign, which would have passed through all 140 assembly constituencies, will be on Saturday evening when national party vice president Rahul Gandhi addresses party workers here.

Responding to reports that he might join the Oommen Chandy government, Chennithala said no such talks had taken place.

“What Chandy said is true. If I wanted, I could have joined the cabinet before,” said the veteran leader who has been president of the state unit for nine years.

He said the Congress, unlike the CPI-M, was open to criticism.

“Yes, it’s true that Hindu social group leaders and minority community leaders do criticise… and while we are very soft on them, the CPI-M is not. We are open to criticism and maintain absolute calm because we are not a party that would gag those who take us on. This should not be seen as our weakness,” said Chennithala.

On Saturday, the Chandy government celebrates its second anniversary. Speculation is rife that Chennithala will join Chandy’s cabinet, a move aimed at the majority Hindus in the state.

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