Ramesh Chennithala, the current Leader of Opposition in Kerala State Legislative Assembly first became a state minister at the young age of 28 in 1986: a rarity in politics of yore where veterans ruled the roost.
An aspirant to the chief minister’s post for a while, Ramesh Ramakrishnan Nair, known as Chennithala from his birthplace in Kerala, is a shrewd politician who rose through the Congress ranks in a short span.
Chennithala's rivalry with veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ooomen Chandy has been reported by various media outlets over the years, but the opposition leader trained as a lawyer always got prime cabinet posts whenever UDF led by Congress is in power in Kerala, which signifies his hold over the party reins.
Whether it is his political knack or the ability to speak Hindi, the official language of India, something helped him to connect well with national leaders of Congress. When most South Indian politicians stick to their state and its politics, Chennittala shone in the national arena: Elected to the parliament four times; AICC secretary in charge of seven states in 2001; member of the Congress Working Committee in 2004.
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Later, he came back to his home state with the ambition of becoming the chief minister of Kerala. A desire he nurtures even today. With Congress fortunes dwindling across India, that goal seems to be a distant reality.
He is contesting from Haripad, a consistuency he has represented four times already.