Holds discussion with Thomas Isaac

Even as inner party equations in the Kerala Congress(M) and intra-alliance relations in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) appeared headed towards irreconcilable levels, Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph stayed away from Monday’s Cabinet meeting here and held talks with CPI(M) Central committee member T.M. Thomas Isaac at Alappuzha.

Mr. Joseph did not attend the special Cabinet meeting despite being in the State capital. Equally significantly, he was present at a meeting of an Assembly Subject Committee during the day. He added a new dimension to the whole issue by choosing to meet CPI(M) Central committee member T.M. Thomas Isaac at Alappuzha later in the evening. Mr. Joseph was not available for comment and Dr. Isaac was quick to brush aside suggestions that his meeting with Mr. Joseph had a political dimension to it.

Mr. Joseph’s absence from the Cabinet meeting had gone largely unnoticed. However, it zoomed into prominence with his meeting with Dr. Isaac, which came even as Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener Vaikom Viswan seemed to hint at a softening in LDF’s stand towards Mr. Joseph and his compatriots in the KC(M).

Replying to questions from the media, Mr. Viswan said here that if Mr. Joseph wished to return to the LDF, that could be discussed. Significantly, he also noted that Mr. Joseph had never attributed any reason to his departure from the LDF nor spoken ill about the LDF even after leaving the alliance.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Joseph’s close confidante Francis George had made it clear that he intended to contest the coming Lok Sabha election from the Idukki constituency and that whatever his party general secretary Antony Raju had stated on Sunday was a reflection of the mood of party workers in Idukki.

Mr. George has staked claim to the seat, which is currently in the possession of the Congress and is being represented in the Lok Sabha by Oommen Chandy camper P.T. Thomas. The parting shot of the day came from CPI(M) State secretariat member Anathalavattom Anandan, who told a TV channel that the LDF would consider supporting Mr. George if he contested from Idukki.

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