Kerala Congress (M) leader and Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Tuesday disowned his party’s Government Chief Whip P.C. George’s views on the possible return of K.B. Ganesh Kumar to the Chandy Cabinet.
Mr. George, who has been involved in a running quarrel with Mr. Ganesh Kumar for some time now, did not lose time in spelling out his opposition to the move to re-induct Mr. Ganesh Kumar as a Minister. The issues that led to his resignation continued to be relevant, he said and maintained that it would not be ethical to bring him back. However, Mr. Mani made it clear at a press conference later that he did not share George’s views. He welcomed the move to bring back Mr. Ganesh Kumar, besides discounting any ethical issues connected to his re-induction.
“Mr. Ganesh Kumar was not dismissed from office on grounds of corruption or other issue, but had resigned on his own on moral grounds. Therefore, there was no road blocks in his returning to the Cabinet,” he said responding to questions on his party colleagues stand. “P.C. George is surviving because of the support of the media,” he added.
Mr. Mani said that the UDF had not discussed the issue of Cabinet reshuffle. The Chief Minister would discuss the matter with the leaders of constituent parties when the time comes. “We will express our opinions at that time,” he said.
The stage for Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s possible return to the Chandy Cabinet was set on Monday evening, when Kerala Congress (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai conveyed it to the UDF leadership that he had no objection to the re-induction of his son, Mr. Ganesh Kumar, if he was ready to abide by the directions of the party leadership.
The former Minister also had made the right moves, by trying to mend his relations with his father and Nair Service Society general secretary Sukumaran Nair.
Mr. George has been running a campaign against Mr. Ganesh Kumar, besides being responsible for placing in public domain his marital problems that culminated in his resignation when his wife filed a police complaint under the Domestic Violence Act. The former Minister later settled his marital issues.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has promised to hold discussions with the other UDF leaders on the filling up of the vacancy caused by Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s resignation. The Kerala Congress (B) had a rightful claim to the slot, but it had temporarily set aside its claim in the backdrop of the moves to bring in KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. Mr. Pillai decided to stake his claim for a ministerial berth when the move to bring in Mr. Chennithala was aborted.
Now that Mr. Pillai has decided to accept the UDF’s offer to make him Chairman of the Forward Class Welfare Commission with Cabinet rank, the Kerala Congress (B) will get additional benefits if Mr. Ganesh Kumar too is inducted as Minister.
There is considerable opposition within the Congress and the UDF to the move to give two Cabinet posts to a party which has only one MLA in the House.
In reply to a question on this issue, Mr. Mani said there had been occasion when the State witnessed the induction of Chief Ministers belonging to a party which had fewer number of MLAs.
He said that his party would continue to make all attempts to wrest two seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.