The stage for another round of discussion to sort out the problems the Oommen Chandy Ministry is currently facing is getting ready on Friday in the presence of senior United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders. But the Congress high command continued to grope for a fair solution, even as several settlement formulas did their rounds on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will leave for New Delhi on Thursday after attending a few functions in Kozhikode. Leaders of some of the United Democratic Front constituents were cut up for being ignored and publicly aired their opinions. However, the Chief Minister, at a post-Cabinet briefing here, sought to correct the impression that he had ignored the UDF leaders.

Finance Minister and Kerala Congress(M) leader K.M. Mani, speaking to The Hindu, said he had not received any official invitation from the Congress high command and would attend the talks if he got one. “The Chief Minister had informed him that the invitation would be sent,” he said.

In the meantime, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, who continued to be assertive about not joining the Chandy Cabinet, called on Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony in New Delhi. Mr. Chennithala, who had been directed to stay back in Delhi by the high command, later told mediapersons that he had discussed the current political situation with Mr. Antony. Mr. Chennithala is understood to have informed Mr. Antony the kind of insult he had to suffer on account of the earlier debates about his induction into the Cabinet and that he did not want to be a party to another futile exercise.

However, as the day proceeded, there was considerable speculation about the possible entry of Mr. Chennithala, with selective leaks about the possibility of reopening the issue of Deputy Chief Minister’s post. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has already made it very clear that it does not want to reopen the issue of Deputy Chief Minister’s post. The Kerala Congress(M) will also support the IUML stand.

Allied developments, such a scheduled official trip of Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash to Delhi to present a Rs.600-crore assistance package under the national calamity fund, came to be linked with the Cabinet reshuffle.

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