Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s arrival in Delhi late Thursday evening triggered off a series of political development that brought Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala a step forward to joining his Cabinet.
Even though senior leaders are tight-lipped about the outcome of the joint meeting between political secretary to Congress president Ahmed Patel, Mr. Chandy, and Mr. Chennithala, it is becoming clear that Mr. Chennithala would get the coveted Deputy Chief Minister’s post. The only formality that remains is to get the clearance of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leaders; something which the Congress leadership, particularly Mr. Chandy, is confident about once a meeting is arranged for them with party president Sonia Gandhi.
Mr. Chennithala, sources said, might most possibly get the Revenue portfolio. Mr. Chandy is reported to have expressed his difficulty in handing over the Home portfolio.
Immediately after the meeting with Mr. Patel, Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala came out together projecting a picture of cordiality. Mr. Chennithala told The Hindu from Delhi that a final decision had not yet been taken. It is presumed that a decision would be taken after Mr. Chandy holds talks with Mrs. Gandhi on Friday. United Democratic Front (UDF) convener P.P. Thankachan is also expected to accompany him. Earlier in the day, Mr. Chandy held discussions with the IUML leaders in Kozhikode.
In Delhi, Mr. Chennithala met Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Chennithala said he had discussed the current political situation in the State with his party president, but did not want to disclose the details of the conversation. However, his faction sources said that he had pointed out to the previous attempts to malign him by creating a piquant situation regarding his entry as a Minister and the portfolio to be given to him.
He also underscored the change for worse in the political situation for the Congress in the aftermath of the solar scam.
Nevertheless, he was duty bound to stand by the directions of the party president and would accept an honourable post in the Cabinet that reflected his seniority, sources said.