The ‘I’ faction of the Congress makes it very clear that its support for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should not be construed as unconditional.
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala’s efforts to defuse the political crisis on Monday night following revelations by the solar scam complainant Sreedharan Nair, which almost forced Mr. Chandy to offer his resignation, were primarily aimed at saving the United Democratic Front government and not necessarily the Chief Minister, said factional leaders.
A group of Congress legislators that left for New Delhi on Tuesday to apprise the party bosses of the damage the solar scam has done to the organisation and the UDF doesn’t seem to be keen on giving a clean chit to Mr. Chandy.
A legislator in the group felt that the party rank and file felt humiliated and thoroughly demoralised by the turn of events.
“We are finding it difficult to defend the party in the face of the crisis. Discontent is also brewing among the front partners,’’ said a legislator who left for New Delhi.
Many ‘I’ group leaders feel that the Chief Minister will have to step down if a judicial probe is ordered into the solar scam and they do not want to be seen as having precipitated the leadership crisis within the party. KPCC general secretary Padmaja Venugopal said that the ‘I’ group has not discussed the replacement of Mr. Chandy, yet.
“However, one should not be under the impression that everything is fine in the State unit.
There are vexing issues in the party which need to be sorted out at the earliest.” At the same time, legislators loyal to the Chief Minister said that he continued to enjoy the backing of the party and the constituents of the front.
They preferred to interpret the statement of Defence Minister A.K. Antony in Kochi on Tuesday that there will not be any change in government in the State as the Congress High Command’s message to the party unit.