Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday left for New Delhi to hold discussions with the Congress high command on some of the pending issues related to the Congress party in Kerala, including the terms of reference for the proposed judicial inquiry into the solar scam. The Opposition wants the Chief Minister and his office to come within the purview of the terms of reference.
During his whistle-stop visit, Mr. Chandy is expected to meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Mukul Wasnik, and Ahamed Patel, political secretary to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
It is not clear whether he would meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Chandy had hoped to hold discussions with Congress president Sonia Gandhi when she was expected in the State capital. But the visit was put off owing to her health problems. She is away in the U.S. for treatment.
Mr. Chandy’s visit comes on the eve of the Congress high command’s move to reconstitute the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee executive, besides expanding the District Congress Committees by inducting new office-bearers.
The revamp of mandalam and block committees are also expected to be carried out during this period. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala said here the other day that the revamp process would be completed soon after Onam.
With factionalism on the rise, there has been considerable jostling among party leaders to get some of their supporters into the committees. Talking to The Hindu shortly before he boarded the plane, Mr. Chandy said he would return home on Monday itself.
There is also speculation in political circles that Mr. Chandy was prompted to make the Delhi visit in the context of the hard-hitting letter written by Government Chief Whip P.C. George. The letter addressed to Ms. Gandhi had purportedly demanded the removal of Mr. Chandy as Chief Minister.
Mr. George had clarified that he would continue to take a hard stand on the solar scam issue and denied that he had retracted from his earlier statements, since it had been appreciated by all sections. “News reports that I had surrendered or climbed down from my positions are far from the truth. It is a fact that I wrote to Ms. Gandhi a letter. But I don’t have the habit of leaking out a letter written privately and I am not responsible for it,’’ he said. Whatever Mr. George might claim, there seems to be a ceasefire of sorts since his meeting with the Chief Minister along with IUML leader P.K. Kunhalikutty and his party leader K.M. Mani.