G. Karthikeyan likely to become KPCC president

Informal talks to end the deadlock in the Congress and facilitate the entry of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala into the Cabinet continued at various levels on Sunday.

According to reliable sources, a general consensus has emerged on the imperatives of including Mr. Chennithala in the Chandy team. A near consensus had also been arrived at to bring in Speaker G. Karthikeyan as KPCC president, the sources said.

The main hurdle continues to be the allocation of portfolio to Mr. Chennithala, which would clearly designate the number two slot in the Cabinet. It would not be difficult for Mr. Chandy to induct Mr. Chennithala as deputy Chief Minister, once the party high command approves it.

Mr. Chandy, according to sources close to him, has made it clear that the party high command should give its approval for the creation of Deputy Chief Minister’s post. He has not so far relented from surrendering the Home portfolio.

Mr. Chennithala had earlier made it known that he would join the Cabinet only in the capacity of deputy Chief Minister with Home portfolio. The Congress leadership would have to work out a fair deal for Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan if he were to be divested of the Home portfolio. After indicating his views, Mr. Radhakrishnan toned down his statements on Sunday, stating that he was an obedient party worker.

In case Mr. Radhakrishnan has to give up Home, Congress leaders here feel that he should be given the Forest portfolio.

It is also possible that Mr. Radhakrishnan might find himself in the Speaker’s chair. Various formulas are being worked out, and these will get a final shape only when a proposed meeting between Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala materialises on Tuesday.

In the meantime, K. Muraleedharan, former KPCC president, came out in support of Mr. Chennithala. He expressed regrets at the manner in which the question of Mr. Chennithala’s induction into the Cabinet was handled. He said he was reminded of his own experience nine years ago when he had been promised important portfolios, but had to be satisfied with the one that was allocated to him.

Mr. Chennithala should be given the status that reflected his contributions as KPCC chief for the last eight years, Mr. Muraleedharan said when media persons sought his views.

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