Ramesh Chennithala

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Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala profile 02.jpg
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
2011 (2011)
Preceded byAdv. B. Babuprasad
Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Niyamasabha
In office
29 May 2016 – 20 May 2021
GovernorP. Sathasivam
Arif Mohammad Khan
Preceded byV. S. Achuthanandan
Succeeded byV.D. Satheesan
Minister of Home Affairs, Government of Kerala
In office
1 January 2014 – 20 May 2016
Preceded byThiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan
Succeeded byPinarayi Vijayan
Minister of Rural Development, Kerala
In office
5 June 1986 – 25 March 1987
Preceded byN Sundaran Nadar
Succeeded byT. Sivadasa Menon
President of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee
In office
Preceded byK. Muraleedharan
Succeeded byV. M. Sudheeran
In office
Member of Parliament
for Kottayam
In office
Preceded byK. Suresh Kurup
Succeeded byK. Suresh Kurup
Member of Parliament
for Mavelikara
In office
Preceded byP. J. Kurien
Succeeded byC. S. Sujatha
Member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly
In office
1982 (1982)–1989 (1989)
Personal details
Born (1956-05-25) 25 May 1956 (age 67)
Mavelikkara, Travancore-Cochin, India
Political partyIndian National Congress
Anita Ramesh
(m. 1986)
Parent(s)V. Ramakrishnan Nair
Devaki Amma
Alma materNSS Hindu College, Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram

Ramesh Chennithala, [ɾɐmeːʃ t͡ʃen̺ːit̪ːɐlɐ], (born 25 May 1956), is an Indian politician, and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. He was the Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Kerala Legislative Assembly.[2] He also served as the state Home Minister in the Government of Kerala for two years. He holds the record of the youngest minister in Kerala at the age of 28.[3]

Chennithala has served as a Member of Parliament for four terms from Kottayam and Mavelikkara Parliament Constituencies and as a member of the Legislative assembly (MLA) for five terms including the current term from Haripad assembly constituency. He is the only leader from South India to hold the position of President of both State Students Union (KSU) and National Students Union (NSUI). He is also the only Malayali to hold the position of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) President during the time of Rajiv Gandhi. He has represented the highest body of the Indian National Congress, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in 2004.

Personal life[edit]

Chennithala was born at Chennithala, Mavelikara in Kerala, India on 25 May 1956 to V. Ramakrishnan Nair and Devakiamma.[4] He studied Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Economics and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.).[5] He is married to Anita.[6] They have two sons, namely Rohit Chennithala and Ramit Chennithala. Rohit Chennithala is a physician by profession[7] and Ramit Chennithala cleared the Civil Services Examination 2017 with 210th rank and currently works for the Indian Revenue Service.[8]

Political career[edit]

Chennithala started his political life during his early school days. In 1970, he became the Kerala Students Union (KSU) Chennithala HS Unit Secretary. He subsequently held a series of positions in KSU, namely Mavelikkara Taluk General Secretary in 1971, KSU Alappuzha District Treasurer in 1972, Alappuzha District Secretary in 1973, KSU State Executive Member in 1975, KSU State Vice President in 1978, and eventually becoming the KSU State President in 1980.[9]

In 1982, he became All India President of the National Students Union of India and later in the same year was elected as MLA from Haripad Constituency. In 1985, he became the General Secretary of Indian Youth Congress and went on to become the youngest Minister (Rural Development) in the Ministry of K. Karunakaran in 1986 at the age of 28.[9] In 1986, he became the President of Kerala Pradesh Youth Congress (I), Kerala and in 1987 he was re-elected as MLA from Haripad Constituency.[9]

In 1989 he was elected as Member of Parliament from Kottayam Parliamentary Constituency and became National President, Indian Youth Congress in 1990.[10] In 1999, he became Member of Parliament from Mavelikkara Parliamentary Constituency. In 2004 loksabha elections he was defeated by CPI(M) leader Adv. C.S. Sujatha.[11]

Ramesh Chennithala along with the delegates from UAE.

Later in 1991, 1996, and 1999 he was re-elected to Parliament.[10] He received rich accolades for his fiery speeches in Hindi and English during his tenure. In 2001 he became the AICC Secretary with independent charge of seven states and in 2002 with independent charge of five states. In 2004, he was selected to the highest body of Indian National Congress, the Congress Working Committee (CWC).[10]

He was also a member of various committees including Consultative Committee for Commerce; Labour and Welfare Committee; Central Committee for 125th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; Central Committee for Birth Centenary of Subhash Chandra Bose; Finance Committee – Lok Sabha; H.R.D. Standing Committee; Public Accounts Committee; Coir Board; Civil aviation Consultative Committee; and Joint Parliamentary Committee on Pesticides in Soft Drinks and Fruit Drinks. Other important positions held include KPCC President, AICC Secretary, Indian Youth Congress National President, President of Pradesh Youth Congress (I) Kerala.

Chennithala giving the Golden Trophy to the winners of Kerala School Kalolsavam, Asia's biggest cultural event.

In 2005, he returned to state politics to become president of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. In 2011, for the third time, he was re-elected as MLA from Haripad Constituency. In 2014, he was sworn in as the Home Minister of Kerala.[12] His "Operation Kubera" project was intended to stop the reign of illegal money lenders in the state.[12] The "Clean campus safe campus" project was to stop the usage of drugs in campus.[13]

He shared the dais with Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a joint anti-CAA protest organised by the ruling CPM-led LDF to express his views on the CAA. Leader of the opposition Chennithala said he has moved a petition challenging the Act[14] which drew criticism from the then-KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran. However, KPCC vice-president V. D. Satheesan, stated that the protest against CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) was "a fight for a common cause".[15]


Chennithala holds the record of being the youngest minister in the state at the age of 28.[10]

He became a Member of Parliament for a long period, returned to state politics in 2005, and became the president of the state Congress Party.

After the 2016 Kerala election, he became the Leader of the Opposition of the state.[10]

Leader of Opposition[edit]

A meeting held by the Congress leaders on 29 May 2016 chose Chennithala as the Leader of Opposition of Kerala Niyamasabha.[16] Under his leadership the UDF emerged victorious in 2019 Indian general election by winning 19 out of 20 seats in Kerala. This was their biggest victory in the elections after the 1977 election. It was under his leadership UDF faced such a defeat in 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election and LDF retained power by breaking the four-decade alternative rule trend between Left Democratic Front (Kerala) and United Democratic Front (Kerala).

Actions taken[edit]

  • Chennithala approached the Anti-Corruption Court against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Excise Minister T. P. Ramakrishnan for revising the liquor policy in the state.[17] However, the Supreme Court exempted gram panchayat areas having an urban nature from liquor prohibition, leading to the reopening of all shut outlets.[18] Following this, Chennithala argued that the government was misinterpreting the SC verdict.[19]


  • He received the P. V. Sankaranarayanan Memorial Award in 2014.[20]


  • January 8, 2019: While addressing media in Thiruvananthapuram, Chennithala stated that his decision to appoint T. P. Senkumar as DGP was "the biggest mistake of my life and I regret the decision,". Chennithala added that Senkumar was made DGP overruling another officer and the decision proved wrong. "We all are bearing the burden of this decision. I took the decision thinking to let a Malayali become the DGP. But now, I regret it," he added. He had earlier criticised the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for removing Senkumar from the post on numerous occasions.[21]
  • September 8, 2020: Chennithala's remarks generated controversy when a journalist indicated about the Congress leaned NGO union links of the health inspector who molested a woman who sought COVID-19 negative certificate.[22][23] Later, he said that his statements were taken out of context but apologized.[24][25][26]


  1. ^ "Parlement of India". parliamentofindia.nic.in. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Ramesh Chennithala elected as new opposition leader". Times of India. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Congress Elects Ramesh Chennithala As Leader Of Opposition In Kerala Assembly". NDTV.com. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Kerala Assembly election database: Biodata of Ramesh Chennithala". keralaassembly.org. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  5. ^ "KERALA LEGISLATURE - MEMBERS".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithalas wife Anitha about their wedding". Times of India.
  7. ^ "Ramesh Chennithala's son ties the knot". Mathrubhumi.
  8. ^ "State's top rank in Civil Services is 16". The Hindu.
  9. ^ a b c "Congress Elects Ramesh Chennithala as Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly". NDTV. 30 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Chennithala elected as CLP leader in Kerala". India Today. 29 May 2016.
  11. ^ "General elections 2019: All eight Kerala women to become Lok Sabha MPs". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Chennithala sworn in Kerala Home Minister". The Hindu. January 2014.
  13. ^ "Anti-drug campaign to be extended to colleges". The Hindu. 27 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Kerala govt, Oppn speak with one voice at anti-CAA protest".
  15. ^ "Kerala Congress rift wide open: Mullappally, Satheesan spar over joint anti-CAA protest". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  16. ^ Unnikrishnan, Dinesh (31 May 2016). "Election aftermath: Can Ramesh Chennithala save the Congress in Kerala? -Politics News , Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  17. ^ Anand, G. (December 2018). "Kerala liquor 'scandal': Ramesh Chennithala moves anti-corruption court against CM, Excise Minister". The Hindu.
  18. ^ "Liquor outlets to reopen in 10,000-strong panchayats of Kerala". The New Indian Express. 17 March 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  19. ^ "Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala flays Kerala government's move to reopen liquor outlets". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Award for Ramesh Chennithala". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Appointing Senkumar as DGP biggest mistake of my life, says Chennithala". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Congress Leader Must Apologise For "Insulting Women": Kerala Health Minister". NDTV.com. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  23. ^ P. S. Gopikrishnan Unnithan (8 September 2020). "Kerala Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala faces flak over insensitive rape comment, netizens demand apology - India News". India Today. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Kerala Leader Ramesh Chennithala Apologises after Remark on Rape Sparks Row". News18. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  25. ^ "വാക്കുകൾ പിൻവലിച്ച് നിർവ്യാജം ഖേദംപ്രകടിപ്പിക്കുന്നു: രമേശ് ചെന്നിത്തല". Indian Express Malayalam (in Malayalam). 9 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  26. ^ "ഖേദം പ്രകടിപ്പിച്ച് രമേശ് ചെന്നിത്തല; സ്ത്രീകളുടെ മനസ്സില്‍ നേരിയ പോറല്‍പോലും ഉണ്ടാകരുത്‌". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 9 September 2020.

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