UDF leadership hopeful of solution
The United Democratic Front leadership’s attempt to settle the issues between Kerala Congress (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai and his son and Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar on Tuesday remained inconclusive.
The talks held at the official residence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy hit a blind alley when Mr. Balakrishna Pillai insisted that his recalcitrant son function according to the wishes of the party. The meeting, which was attended by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala and UDF convener P.P. Thankachan, proved to be yet another futile attempt to settle the problems of its coalition partner.
According to sources, the Congress leaders put forward a formula for Mr. Balakrishna Pillai’s consideration, including chairmanship of two corporations. He maintained that he was willing to consider any formula provided the Minister functioned according to the party’s wishes. Even though the talks did not make much headway, the UDF leaders were confident that they could bring Mr. Balakrishna Pillai around.
“We are optimistic. The talks to settle the differences between the father and the son started from a no-win situation. We have now reached a stage where their animosities have been considerably reduced,” according to sources in the ruling front.
Mr. Balakrishna Pillai and Mr. Ganesh Kumar met on the eve of Onam, bringing about a momentary thaw in the situation. But this was followed by the Ganesh Kumar faction organising parallel committees, leading to tension in Pathanapuram a couple of weeks ago.
The main objective of the repeated attempts of the UDF leadership to settle the differences in the Kerala Congress (B) is apparently to avoid an unnecessary situation that might force Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s resignation if the UDF leadership is forced to accept the norm that Ministers should function according to the wishes of the party.