Chandy rules out Cabinet reshuffle
May 21, 2013
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has put an end to the debate on Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala’s induction into his Cabinet by categorically stating that he does not propose to go in for a reshuffle of his team. He has also made it clear that there is no move to induct Mr. Chennithala into his Cabinet for the time being and the ongoing debate on the issue is a creation of the media.
The Chief Minister came out with his statement at the end of a 40-minute meeting with Mr. Chennithala at his official residence, Cliff House, here on Monday evening. Mr. Chandy appeared to be assertive in his statement, even while making it clear that he proposed to fill the slot in his Cabinet that fell vacant consequent on the resignation of K.B. Ganesh Kumar as Forest Minister. This would be done in consultation with leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front’s constituents. Mr. Chandy said the issue of Mr. Chennithala’s entry was not discussed at the meeting. “The post of KPCC president is much higher than that of a Minister,” he remarked. He had expressed his desire to induct Mr. Chennithala into his Cabinet on two occasions earlier. But he had turned down the request. He has not so far indicated that he has changed his mind, Mr. Chandy said.
The meeting held at the initiative of Mr. Chandy is presumed to have materialised as per the directions of Union Defence Minister and Congress Working Committee member A K Antony. This is for the first time that the two leaders held a one-to-one meeting.
According to sources, the reshuffle issue went out of track because Mr. Chandy was not willing to concede Mr. Chennithala’s terms on joining his team.