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66 Congress leaders from Kerala to meet Rahul

66 Congress leaders from Kerala to meet Rahul

Thiruvananthapuram: A 66-member team of Congress leaders will discuss with Vice President Rahul Gandhi ways to revive the party in Kerala where it lost power in May, a party leader said on Wednesday.

Among those reaching Delhi are former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, state party President V.M. Sudheeran, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, Lok Sabha members, legislators and those who lost the assembly polls.

"This is a meeting to decide how to strengthen the party at all levels," Sudheeran told reporters here before leaving for Delhi.

The Congress contested in 87 assembly seats in Kerala but could win only 22. Many of its seasoned leaders were defeated.

At a meeting of the state party executive this month, several leaders blamed Sudheeran. Since the electoral rout, Chandy has declined to take up any party post and remains just a legislator.

The Congress-led UDF has 47 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly.

"If the party has to make a return, Sudheeran has to go. You just wait and see," said a Congress leader who did not wished to be identified.

While some leaders want the next president of the party in Kerala should be elected, others feel that no one should be thrust by the "high command" even if someone is nominated.

Since Vayalar Ravi defeated A.K. Antony in 1991 to become the state president, all subsequent state presidents have been nominated -- by the Congress "high command".

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