The Congress party here has been divided between K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony and for the past one decade, the rival factions were headed by Chandy and Chennithala.
Sudheeran initially headed the students wing of the Congress party, and has been a major leader in the faction of Antony and Chandy.
However, after his defeat he has been maintaining a distance from all factions in the party.
His tenure as assembly speaker in the mid-eighties and a brief stint as the health minister in the cabinet of Antony in 1995 won him a lot of appreciation.
Political analyst S. Jayashanker said: "Sudheeran has substance and image."
He said the Congress national leadership's "several recent decisions defied logic, while this decision should be applauded".
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