Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday took the initiative to hold an hour-long meeting with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala to end a prolonged impasse in their interpersonal relation that has given a sharp edge to factional tussles in the party.
According to top party sources, the Chief Minister and the KPCC president discussed the need to convene the party-government coordination committee meeting often. The problems the party has with the constituents of the United Democratic Front (UDF) also came in for discussions.
The finalisation of the list of nominees to the KPCC executive committee also was discussed in the context of the party high command’s direction to prune the 200-odd names submitted last week. “The meeting between the two leaders was cordial. There would be visible changes in the coming days,” a close aide of the Chief Minister said.
The ties between the two leaders, who have been guiding the fortunes of the Congress in the last eight years, broke when they failed to work out a formula to induct Mr. Chennithala into the UDF Ministry.
The relations hit a new low in September when the high command’s move to bring in Mr. Chennithala into the Cabinet failed due to Mr. Chandy’s refusal to give up the key Home portfolio to him. Since then, factional fights took a new turn, with the Congress leadership unable to decide on several crucial matters. Mr. Chennithala took an indifferent stand by preferring to give Mr. Chandy a free hand in whatever decision he wanted since he was heading the government.
Problems with partners
In the meantime, the Congress party’s problems with coalition partners, particularly the smaller ones, kept mounting and bilateral discussions to settle differences did not materialise.