Fifty-nine year old Ramesh Chennithala is one of the notable candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha Assembly election in Kerala, with his popularity and stronghold in the party next to the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. While there are various reports of Chennithala and Chandy not being able to see eye to eye on various issues, Chennithala has always managed to get prime cabinet positions that signifies his importance in the party.
Born on May 25, 1956 at Chennithala, Alappuzha District as son of V Ramakrishnan Nair and Devaki Amma, Ramesh trained to be a lawyer. Active in politics since his school days, Ramesh rose to the top levels of KSU, the students wing of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and became its State President in 1980. He was first elected as MLA from Haripad Constituency in 1982 and also became the All India President of National Students Union of India (NSUI). He was the youngest cabinet minister in Kerala in 1986, handling the Rural Development portfolio and later became the Member of Parliament from Kottayam in 1989.
His proficiency in Hindi helped him to connect with the national leaders of the Congress. Elected to the Parliament for four times, he became the AICC Secretary, with independent charge of seven states in 2001 and became member of the Congress Working Committee in 2004. However since then, he came back to Kerala and focused on the State thereafter. He was in the troika with G Karthikeyan and M I Shanawaz that rebelled against veteran Congress leader K Karunakaran in the eighties.
In 2005, he became the President of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). He was re-elected from Haripad Constituency in 2011 and later became the Minister for Home in the Oommen Chandy-led government.
If Congress wins the state this time, current chief minister Oommen Chandy can expect a stiff competition for the top post from Chennithala.