Two decades later, Cherian Phillip returns to Congress

Insight Online News

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 29 : Cherian Phillip on Friday after two decades of being a fellow traveller with the CPI-M, announced that he is returning to his ‘ancestral’ home — the Congress party.

“My roots are in the Congress and I have now realised that I can grow only in the Congress. While being in the CPI-M, I was never given a chance to join mainstream politics. I have been a political ‘creature’ starting from age 12 to 47 years while being in the Congress.

“After which I joined the CPI-M as a fellow traveller and for the past two decades, I was cut away from being an active political ‘creature’. Since I have invested myself for the Congress, I felt it was time to return to my ancestral house — Congress,” said Phillip while speaking to the media.

“I was not ousted from the Congress party, instead I went out on my own. At that time I was upset with the Congress party as the same faces in the party were being fielded again and again. Now I feel that has changed and what I wanted then, has started to happen now,” and added that he is not looking for any posts or positions in the Congress.

During his time with the CPI-M, he said he was treated with respect by all the leaders and he never asked for a Rajya Sabha seat, as he felt his domain was only state politics.

“Even though I was given an Assembly seat to contest at the 2001, ’06 and ’11 Assembly elections by the CPI-M, none of it was not a safe seat. The only thing I wished was for a safe seat, but it never happened. I have the highest regards for all the CPI-M leaders, who treated me well. Even though I know a lot of secrets, I will never ever reveal it,” added Phillip.

Just before he announced his decision to return to the Congress, he called on his long time mentor former Defence Minister A.K. Antony at his house here.

“We all know that Cherian did not get his due share in the Congress party and when he announced his decision to leave, it was a big shock for me. For almost three years, we did not have any communication and after that we slowly renewed our old times and since then we have had the best of relations.

“One big thing about him is that even though for 2 decades he was a fellow traveller of the CPI-M, never ever did he take the CPI-M party membership. He has held only one flag and has been a member of only one political party and that’s the Congress,” said Antony.

The return of Phillip was on the cards, when early this month he openly criticised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who has been his biggest supporter since the former left the Congress and joined the CPI-M in 2001.

The homecoming of Phillip then became clear, early this week, when he was given an award by two-time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Incidentally, the first call for 67-year-old Phillip, a bachelor, came from none other than present Lok Sabha member K. Muraleedharan, son of K. Karunakaran, who defeated Phillip at the 2011 Assembly elections, when the two contested against each other.

Way back in 2001, Phillip revolted against the Congress party on being denied a ticket by Chandy.

Phillip was fielded in two more Assembly polls in 2006 and 2011 by the CPI-M, but he failed to win and he was also given plum posts, first as the chairman of the KTDC from 2006-11 and then a cabinet minister equivalent post in one of the pet projects of Vijayan from 2016 to 2021.

The relation between Vijayan and Phillip turned sour in April this year amid speculation that he will be nominated for the Rajya Sabha.

But for the first time, Vijayan failed to support him, instead he backed his closest aides John Brittas who headed the Kairali TV, and V. Sivadasan who was looking after the social media operations of the party from the state party headquarters and both went to the Upper House.

Since then Phillip started to maintain a distance from Vijayan and he denied to accept the post of the vice-chairman of the Kerala Khadi Board, which was offered to him and the other day took potshots at Vijayan for failing to rise to the occasion after the recent floods hit the state.

For the CPI-M, the return of Phillip is a shocker as last month two leaders of the Congress party, both general secretaries- K.P. Anilkumar and G. Rethikumar left the party and walked into the CPI-M party headquarters here.

IANS / AGENCY

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