‘I cannot take a unilateral decision and have to consult constituent parties’
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that there will be a reshuffle of the Cabinet after the Lok Sabha elections.
Replying to questions at a meet-the-press organised by the Press Club here on Thursday, Mr. Chandy said he could not take a unilateral decision in the matter and would have to consult the constituent parties and secure the clearance of the party high command. “This is not a topic of discussion,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who had had discussions with Kerala Congress(B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai and his son and MLA K.B. Ganesh Kumar at the latter’s home at Pathanapuram in the morning, said in reply to another question that he could not divulge the contents of his discussion with the KC(B) leaders.
Attacking the Opposition, Mr. Chandy said that by fielding five Independents, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had disgraced its supporters. This only showed that the party could not win these seats if it fielded its own candidates in these constituencies.
He rejected the allegation that the Congress and the United Democratic Front (UDF) had engineered the Revolutionary Socialist Party’s defection to the UDF through a conspiracy. He accused CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan of having accused the Congress of a conspiracy to avert criticism from within his own party and the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) over the issue. He viewed RSP leaders’ criticism of the government before they joined the UDF as a normal political practice, Mr. Chandy added.
The Chief Minister reiterated his stand that the Lok Sabha elections would also be a referendum on his government’s performance. Normally, Chief Ministers would not say so.
The people would evaluate the performance of both the government and the Opposition in the election. When he took up the challenge, the CPI(M) State secretary accepted it, he said.
On Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan’s shifting stand on Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrasekharan’s murder, Mr. Chandy said it was his practice to change his positions frequently. Although he has now changed his stand, his letter seeking a CBI inquiry into the murder was still valid, he pointed out.
Mr. Chandy claimed that the party had not denied seat to P.T. Thomas, the incumbent MP from the Idukki Lok Sabha constituency.