The fifth round of talks to solve problems in the Congress failed to yield results, belying Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s hopes of an amicable settlement prior to his return to the State on Monday.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala continued to maintain his defiant stance against joining the Chandy team as a Minister.

At the end of the fifth attempt to wring out a settlement, the main issue for the Chief Minister continued to be the surrender of Home and Vigilance portfolios.

He apparently did not want to divest Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan of the portfolios in the midst of the solar scam investigation.

In removing Mr. Radhakrishnan, it seems, Mr. Chandy does not have the full support of Defence Minister A.K. Antony, driving force behind the Cabinet revamp move.

A Cabinet recast, Mr. Antony expects, will shore up the image of the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Chennithala refused to meet Mr. Chandy for discussions as he felt that it will not serve any purpose in the context of the two leaders’ failure to work out an arrangement in Thiruvananthapuram. They have been meeting representatives of the high command separately.

The Chief Minister has indicted that he will leave for Kerala by an early morning flight.

In response, Mr. Chennithala also said he would return on Tuesday.

Mr. Chennithala and his supporters are of the view that it will be politically suicidal to join a discredited government that has been trying its best to face up to debates in public domain and the strong agitation of the Left Democratic Front.

The solar scam and the problems with caste and communal organisations are two different issues and cannot be mixed, according to his supporters.

Mr. Chandy continued to be optimistic of a happy and amicable settlement, something which he expressed when he met mediapersons in Delhi on Monday evening.

He said he would return home if the deal cannot be clinched and come back again later for talks on the issue.

Indian Union Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty said in the State capital that his party wanted an early settlement to the problems in the Congress.


Chandy hopeful, Chennithala diffidentJuly 29, 2013

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