The KC(M) leader has been on the offensive against Chief Minister
United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders on Wednesday initiated trouble-shooting measures to rein in Kerala Congress(M) leader and Government Chief Whip P.C. George who has been on an offensive against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the solar scam.
Mr. George’s missive to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the solar scam and its adverse impact for the coalition’s prospects in the coming Lok Sabha elections appear to be the immediate provocation for the UDF leaders to launch the initiative.
A preliminary meeting was held between Indian Union Muslim League leader and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty and Kerala Congress(M) leader and Finance Minister K.M. Mani in the presence of Mr. George, before the scene shifted to the Chief Minister’s Office.
Mr. George has been openly criticising the Chief Minister and at one point of time has even demanded his resignation, accusing him of complicity in the scam. As a follow-up to his critical statements, Mr. George wrote to the Congress president and got the letter delivered by hand on August 19.
Another reason that seemed to have prompted the UDF leaders to launch such an exercise is the strained relations between the Congress and the Kerala Congress(M). Mr. Mani made it clear at the meeting that he did not want the problems Mr. George had with the Congress to affect intra-party ties.
Restraint and caution
Mr. George took strong exception to a campaign launched against him by the Youth Congress. He had taken a critical stand only in the larger interest of the UDF, he maintained. Mr. Chandy, on his part, promised to take steps to end the impasse, besides taking action against the police officers who were responsible for the Thodupuzha incident.
It was finally decided that both Mr. George and the Congress leaders would observe restraint and caution in their statements and actions and the leadership of the two parties would advise them accordingly.
With a huge stake in Central Travancore for both the Congress and the Kerala Congress(M), both Mr. Chandy and Mr. Mani appeared to be keen on arresting the slide in the relationship of their parties. While Mr. Mani had his own troubles with the Congress, his attempt was to cushion the strain caused by Mr. George’s rough-cut political positions.
With a major confrontation with the Opposition Left Democratic Front looming large on the issue of the terms of reference for the proposed judicial inquiry into the scam, Mr. Chandy’s attempt was to shut out discordant voices within the ruling coalition, the most vocal being that of Mr. George’s.