The Congress high command is pondering to go for a total reshuffle of party Ministers in the Oommen Chandy Cabinet, even while inducting Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala in a key portfolio.
The total reshuffle of party ministers is being considered in the context of the solar scam, which has hit the UDF government where it hurts. There is also the possibilities of leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) partners being called for talks with party high command, as part of the attempts to sort out a few of their issues, particularly that of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the Kerala Congress(M). The final way forward would be decided soon after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s arrival in Delhi for talks. Mr. Chandy has made a minor change in his Delhi schedule by deferring his departure from Kochi only on Sunday evening.
He is expected to return on Monday evening itself, giving the impression that the revamp formula is almost ready, except for the decision on a comprehensive overhaul. If the party decides not to go for an overhaul, then minor changes would be made for Mr. Chennithala’s entry. Despite his reluctance, Mr. Chennithala has no alternative but to accede to the high command’s directive to join the Chandy team, it is pointed out.
Party sources feel that Mr. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan would have to make way for Mr. Chennithala and move over to the Speaker’s chair, while the incumbent Speaker G. Karthikeyan would take over the baton from Mr. Chennithala as KPCC president.
Mr. Radhakrishnan has also staked his claim for KPCC president as an appropriate compensation for giving up the Home portfolio, which otherwise could be interpreted as a punishment for some of his actions that teed off a controversy over the leak of telephone lists linking ministers to one of the solar scam accused Saritha S. Nair.
Mr. Chennithala, in the meantime, met AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, and Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony. While Mr. Chandy said in Kottayam that it was for Mr. Chennithala to decide whether he should join the Cabinet, Mr. Chennithala, turning the tables on the Chief Minister, said that it was for Mr. Chandy to take the appropriate decision.