Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking to play down
critical comments made against him by West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee in her memoir, Senior Congress leader
Ramesh Chennithala Thursday said he had done nothing wrong and
only went by rules in opposing a position for her in the Youth
Congress on age grounds.
Banerjee, in her memoir-- `My unforgettable memories`--
published recently has said some Congress leaders, including
Chennithala, tried to block her career in the Youth Congress
during former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi`s time.
According to Banerjee, Gandhi wanted her to be made
President of the West Bengal Youth Congress but Chennithala,
who was a central leader of the organisation at the time, and
also some leaders from her home state did not want her to be
elevated on the ground that she had crossed the age limit for
holding positions in the youth wing.
When reporters sought his reaction to Banerjee`s charge,
Chennithala said he had not done anything wrong other than
pointing out to the party central leadership that she had
crossed the age limit.
"I just informed Rajivji that she had crossed the age
limit of 35. It was my moral responsibility as a party leader
to do so. There was no conspiracy in it. But Mamata was a
firebrand leader and Rajivji said there was nothing wrong in
giving her a relaxation as such a youth leader was essential
in Bengal then," Chennithala, who is KPCC President now, said.
Playing down Banerjee`s comments, he said: "We know each
other since the Youth Congress days and I still have good
relations with her. I also have very good opinion about her as
a Chief Minister."
He also said he had given full support to Banerjee as the
All-India President of Youth Congress and continued good ties
with her even after she became the Railway Minister and West
Bengal Chief Minister.