Wants Ganesh to remain as MLA, Congress to keep portfolios
Kerala Congress(B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai has made a formal demand that the Congress party take over all portfolios handled by former Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar as a nominee of his party in the Oommen Chandy Cabinet.
Unfolding his strategy to stay politically afloat, Mr. Pillai said at a press conference here on Thursday that his party was against Mr. Ganesh Kumar quitting as MLA. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was forced to oust him from his team because there was no other way out. Mr. Ganesh Kumar was dropped not on the basis of the Kerala Congress(B)’s 18-month-old demand, he said.
Mr. Balakrishna Pillai questioned the moves of Mr. Ganesh Kumar to form a separate block claiming to be the original Kerala Congress(B). His party was against handing over some of the portfolios handled by Mr. Ganesh Kumar to some of the United Democratic Front partners because they did not extend their support to the basic issue he had raised while demanding Mr. Ganesh Kumar’s ouster from the Cabinet.
“I’m bringing this up because it appears that Ganesh Kumar has lost his mental balance. As per the party constitution, he continues to be an ordinary member till he is expelled. Besides, the Kerala Congress(B) is a recognised regional party, figuring 604th in the Election Commission’s list, with properly audited accounts and approved office-bearers,” he said.
Not for contest
Mr. Balakrishna Pillai made it clear that he did not intend to contest from Pathanapuram if Mr. Ganesh Kumar forced a by-election by resigning his membership in the Assembly. “I don’t want to contest election or make an attempt to become an MLA or a Minister in the incumbent UDF government. The party will identify its candidate when the time comes,” he said.
He strongly reacted to Mr. Chandy’s statement that certain external forces had played a role in scuttling the agreement to settle the marital discord between Mr. Ganesh Kumar and his wife, Yamini Thankachi. He wanted a probe into this angle in a convincing manner to clear him from the charge that he had interfered in the matter. The Chief Minister had extended “unwarranted and unethical” protection to Mr. Ganesh Kumar, he said.
Asked whether he was satisfied with the decision to refer the petitions of the husband and wife to the Crime Branch, Mr. Balakrishna Pillai said he did not have faith in the political “set-up” in the police force. Besides, he had bitter experiences while interacting with Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and senior police officers.
Mr. Balakrishna Pillai wanted the UDF to reconstitute the boards and corporations that had been allotted to his party but to which the former Minister had inducted his own cohorts. He urged the Chief Minister to carry out a review of the functioning of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation, which had deviated from its original objectives of nurturing Malayalam film industry during his son’s tenure as Minister.
He alleged that the media were responsible his son’s arrogance, sidelining the fact that he had taken steps to hurt the party and his own family.