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IUML shoots down Deputy CM proposal

Girish Menon
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State Congress leadership now back to square one

Around a table:Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala at a UDF high-power committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.— Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar
Around a table:Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Finance Minister K.M. Mani, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala at a UDF high-power committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.— Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has shot down the proposal to create a Deputy Chief Minister’s post and the Congress leadership now finds itself back to square one in its attempts to correct its equations with majority and minority communities by inducting Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala into the Cabinet.

It is understood that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is likely to visit New Delhi on June 3 subject to his getting an appointment with the Congress high command. Though his office claims that his Delhi visit has been scheduled earlier, there is a feeling in Congress circles that Mr. Chandy now seeks to place his predicament before the high command.

IUML leaders P.K. Kunhalikutty, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, and K.P.A. Majeed met Mr. Chandy on Thursday and conveyed their party’s views. The party does not want the post for it, but it is opposed to changing the structure of the United Democratic Front. Besides, the Cabinet has an established system of functioning where the IUML is placed second in the pecking order. The IUML leaders but supported the idea of inducting the KPCC president into the Cabinet. Nor does it have any objections to reshuffle of Congress portfolios. IUML State chief Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal and national president E. Ahamed, who were in the city, did not attend the UDF meeting, perhaps to avoid giving any commitment to the Congress.

Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala will now have to rework the formulas they had agreed upon at their meeting a couple of days ago. Sources close to Mr. Chennithala say that he has not gone back on his initial demand for the post of Deputy Chief Minister along with Home.

Given the imperatives of enabling the party arrive at a fair solution to the problems it is facing, he had agreed to consider taking up the Revenue portfolio along with the post of Deputy Chief Minister subject to certain conditions such as the Chief Minister should hold the Home portfolio.

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