The Congress party in Kerala is witnessing a new round of factional fights through a statement war, with each faction blaming the other for the Delhi fiasco that found Chief Minister Oommen Chandy returning home without getting clearance from the party high command for a Cabinet reshuffle and leaving Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala further embarrassed.
The ‘A’ faction, owing allegiance to Mr. Chandy, met here the other day and alleged that it was Mr. Chennithala who clamoured for a slot in the Cabinet, complicating matters for the Chief Minister. In response, the Chennithala-headed ‘I’ faction, which met at the residence of KPCC general secretary Saratchandra Prasad on Tuesday, alleged that a section of party leaders who claimed to be close to the Chief Minister were responsible for the insult heaped on Mr. Chennithala, on account of his aborted induction into the Chandy Cabinet.
According to ‘I’ faction sources, Mr. Chennithala had extended unconditional support to the Chief Minister when he found himself on the back foot following the solar scam. But the Chief Minister’s camp had been making constant attempts to insult the KPCC president. Leaders such as M.M. Hassan, Thampanoor Ravi, and Benny Behnan had approached Mr. Chennithala as emissaries of the Chief Minister for his consent to join the Chandy team. Mr. Chennithala had rejected the overtures and continued to hold the view that he did not want to be part of the Chandy team. The factional leaders suspect that deliberate attempts were made to belittle Mr. Chennithala, who heads a major faction that accounts for more than 50 per cent share. The faction representatives alleged that Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan was indulging in blackmail politics.