He has sought removal of Ganesh as Minister
The United Democratic Front’s (UDF) problems with Forest Minister K B Ganesh Kumar have virtually delivered the political initiative to his father, Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishna Pillai, who has been campaigning for the removal of his son from the Chandy Cabinet for refusing to toe his party’s line.
The Kerala Congress (B) has convened its leadership meeting on Saturday to discuss the new developments, even as efforts to sort out the issues between the father and son continued, with Labour Minister Shibu Baby John emerging as the key mediator.
Mr. Pillai, in an interview to a television channel, made it clear that he would not budge from his stand that the Minister should function according to the party line.
Kerala Congress (B) sources said a compromise cannot be ruled out if the Minister agrees to certain conditions that would give the party the final say.
For over a year, Mr. Pillai has been knocking on the doors of the ruling coalition seeking his son’s removal from the Cabinet. Several rounds of discussions at various levels had been held to bring about a rapprochement between the father and son, with the basic objective of averting the Minister’s resignation.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala held a series of discussions attended by Mr. Pillai and Mr. Ganesh Kumar.
The Nair Service Society too mediated to find a solution to the political problems between the father and son, who is the lone representative of the party in the Assembly.
Mr. Pillai had to take the plunge by submitting a letter withdrawing his son as his party nominee in the Chandy Cabinet a month ago even if it meant that his party would not have a slot in it.
The main dispute between the father and son had been over the latter’s style of functioning of keeping out party men from key positions the party got as part of the coalition’s seat-sharing system.
The Minister had persistently refused to accept this and even went to the extent of accusing his father of making such demands with ulterior motives.
The UDF leadership chose to ignore the basic issue that Mr. Pillai raised that the party was above the Minister.
There were several reasons for this and one of the main reasons was the Chief Minister’s reluctance to drop a Minister who had been rated as a performer. Besides, in a coalition, with its distinct pro-minority tilt, the Chief Minister did not want to drop a Minister belonging to the majority community.
The UDF did not have any other option but to take the political way out by resuming discussions with Mr. Pillai on his son’s fate, besides playing down the Minister’s domestic problems.