Congress on a path of confrontation with KC(M)over Idukki seat
The ruling United Democratic Front is finding itself in a three-way bind caused by the controversy over the status of the Kasturirangan panel report. The Congress found itself on a path of confrontation with the Kerala Congress (M) over the Idukki seat, while the latter appears to have made the row over the status of the Kasturirangan report a cover to bargain for the Idukki seat. Besides, the tiff in the Kerala Congress (M) worsened with supporters of Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph using the report to put pressure on party leader K.M. Mani. Mr. Joseph stayed away from the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, seeking more clarity on the office-memorandum amending the recommendations of the Kasturirangan committee on Western Ghats conservation. Later, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala held discussions with him prior to his Delhi trip. Mr. Joseph, according to sources, took a firm stance that the Centre should issue a notification giving effect to the provisions in the office-memorandum. He informed Mr. Chennithala that he would wait till Thursday evening for the draft notification.
Mr. Mani met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and informed him that his party would not be satisfied with a mere office-memorandum and wanted nothing short of a draft notification giving effect to the changes.
Mr. Joseph’s hard line triggered off speculation of his quitting the UDF along with his supporters.