The relations between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala have suddenly hit an air-pocket after two years of well-oiled coordination between the two leaders, triggering off a spate of factional activity in the State. Going by the statements of Congress Working Committee member and Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the party high command is unlikely to intervene to settle the differences between the two leaders. According to party sources, Mr. Chandy will have to take the burden of sorting out differences with the KPCC president.

The differences between the two have cropped up over a proposal to induct Mr. Chennithala in the Chandy Cabinet as part of an attempt to solve the problems the party has been facing with majority communities in the State, as a result of its distinct pro-minority tilt in a coalition dominated by the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kerala Congress (M). The party leadership has found itself on the wrong side of the Nair Service Society, an influential organisation of the Nair community that has been a steadfast supporter of the Congress and the UDF till recently. But the move to induct Mr. Chennithala remained abortive since Mr. Chandy could not agree to the proposal to make him deputy Chief Minister holding the crucial home portfolio.

Mr. Chennithala, after rejecting the offer of a Cabinet berth on two earlier occasions, has made it known that he would not extend the kind of cooperation he had given to the Chief Minister in the last two years since he felt let down by the Chandy camp.