Chandy struggles to lift govt’s image

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s bid to lift the sagging image of his government by inducting party chief, Ramesh Chennithala, into his ministry has met with roadblocks with the latter resisting pressure in this regard from various sides and a minor ally of the party stepping up its campaign for re-inducting its nominee, who was forced to resign on moral grounds.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Tue 30 Jul 2013, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:51 PM

Ramesh expressed his reluctance to join the government, which is under cloud over the solar scam, during the talks he had with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Mukul Wasnik, Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and federal ministers from the state A.K. Antony and Vayalar Ravi.

Ramesh, who had earlier expressed his readiness to join the United Democratic Front (UDF) ministry either as deputy chief minister or minister with Home portfolio, veered round to the latest view after his supporters felt joining a sinking government would sully his image. The senior leaders of the ‘I’ group led by Ramesh met at New Delhi and conveyed their feelings to Ramesh.

However, the Congress high command wants Ramesh to join the ministry. Sonia Gandhi will convey the AICC decision to the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief on Monday when he meets her along with the chief minister.

Before leaving for Delhi, Chandy told reporters that the high command will take its final decision on all issues plaguing the party on Monday. He said the high command decision would strengthen the party and the front led by it.

However, Kerala Congress (B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai has signalled trouble to the beleaguered government. He said a smooth going for the government will be possible only after his son K.B. Ganesh Kumar is given back his berth in the cabinet.

The actor-turned politician had resigned from the ministry in April this year following allegations over his extra-marital affairs and domestic violence complaint lodged against him by his wife. The party sought his re-induction after Ganesh Kumar compromised the cases with his wife Dr Yamini Thankachi.

Pillai told reporters on Sunday that the party will not allow the UDF to solve the issues by filling the slot left by his son with Ramesh Chennithala. He said the Congress should specify the reason for denying berth to Ganesh Kumar and be prepared to remove all ministers facing similar charges if the party denied ministerial berth to him.

He said he himself will resign from the post of chairman of the newly formed Forward Communities Welfare Commission if the party is not given representation in the ministry. In fact Pillai was appointed with cabinet rank in lieu of the ministerial position.

The one-MLA Kerala Congress (B) chief said the induction of Ramesh at this stage will not help the United Democratic Front government. It would have helped if he was inducted into the ministry in the beginning, he added.

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