Chandy entrusted to take appropriate decision

The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) on Thursday adopted the cautious way to sort out the issues related to Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar, by keeping his domestic issues off the public domain and instead focusing on the political problems between him and his father and Kerala Congress(B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai over his continuing in office as party nominee.

The UDF decision, in fact, gave a temporary relief to the Minister, who found himself on the defensive when his wife, Yamini, on Wednesday orally complained to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of harassment. Continuing the firefighting efforts to contain the damage caused by the controversy over the Minister’s domestic affairs, a UDF high-power committee meeting entrusted Mr. Chandy to examine all issues related to his personal affairs, including his wife’s complaint, and take an appropriate decision. The move helped the UDF buy some time to sort out the multiple problems related with Mr. Ganesh Kumar and ensure that the coalition did not suffer any damage in the process.

Nature of issue

“The meeting did not discuss this matter elaborately since it was purely a personal issue and not a political one,” UDF convener P.P. Thankachan said at a press conference soon after the meeting. Several leaders spoke on the issue, including Mr. Ganesh Kumar and Government Chief Whip P.C. George, who had initially removed the hood over the charges against the Minister. It was generally felt that it would be better for the Chief Minister to take the initiative to sort out the Minister’s personal issues, since only he was privy to Dr. Yamini’s oral complaint.

Three issues

When the UDF began its session, there were three issues before it: a letter submitted by Mr. Balakrishna Pillai withdrawing his party’s nominee (Mr. Ganesh Kumar) from the Chandy Cabinet, a complaint against Mr. George who had triggered the row, and more importantly, Dr. Yamini’s complaint against her husband.

The meeting authorised the Chief Minister and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala to hold discussions with Mr. Pillai and work out a settlement formula before the next UDF meeting on April 2. “A final decision will be taken on the basis of these discussions. There were quite a few opinions at the meeting, but the UDF finally decided to hold talks with Mr. Pillai, Mr. Thankachan said.

With regard to the all-round criticism against Mr. George, Mr. Thankachan did not give a direct answer and preferred to play down his position on the Ganesh issue. Despite demands for his ouster, the UDF leadership could hardly do anything about it since he happened to be a senior leader of a coalition partner and held the post of Government Chief Whip. “It was for his party, the Kerala Congress (M), to make its stand clear on Mr. George’s style of functioning,” a senior UDF leader said.

Soon after the UDF meeting, several rounds of discussions took place at different levels. The most prominent mediator turned out to be Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, who held a round of talks with Mr. George and facilitated a meeting between Mr. Ganesh Kumar and Mr. Pillai.

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