Ganesh Kumar decides to go to family court

Kerala's Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar, who late in the night on Monday submitted his resignation, earlier landed the Oommen Chandy government in a political crisis by deciding to pursue issues with his wife Yamini Thankachi in the family court here, disregarding a settlement reportedly worked out through mediators to avert his resignation from the Cabinet following charges of domestic violence.

In a day of high drama, Dr. Yamini went public about her strained relationship with the Minister and Mr. Chandy remained huddled with his aides to discuss a way out of the crisis.

Mr. Kumar, who belongs to the Kerala Congress (B), a minor constituent of the ruling United Democratic Front, has ruled out his resignation. He has accused his wife of blackmailing him for a settlement and wanted an inquiry into the “conspiracy” behind her allegation.

Chandy blames it

on outside forces

Mr. Chandy, who postponed his trip to Delhi, said that though a fair settlement was arrived at with the help of mediators, its implementation, he believed, had gone awry because of the interference of outside forces.

Mr. Kumar filed a petition in the family court, alleging that he was assaulted by his wife.

At a press conference later in the day, Dr. Yamini, who maintained that she had lived with her husband’s extra-marital relations for more than 16 years, came out with graphic details of the incidents that took place on February 22. Holding back tears, she alleged that the Chief Minister had “cheated” her as he failed to stick to his assurance that an amicable settlement would be worked out.

Mr. Kumar’s domestic problems hit the headlines at a time when the UDF was due to discuss his father and Kerala Congress (B) chairman R. Balakrishna Pillai’s letter seeking his withdrawal as the party’s nominee in the Cabinet. The UDF leadership initiated several rounds of talks to bring around Mr. Pillai, who wanted his son out for failing to toe the party line.

Government Chief Whip P.C. George, whose differences with the Forest Minister over some of his decisions on the status of leased forestland in Nelliyampathy were well-known, put the Minister’s domestic problems in public domain.

Dr. Yamini had met the Chief Minister seeking redress, but was advised to hold back her petition till a settlement is worked out. Through mediation, involving Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, an agreement leading to a financial settlement and mutual divorce was signed. Even while the negotiations were on to settle domestic issues, the UDF leadership initiated yet another round of discussion with Mr. Pillai in a bid to cajole him into giving up his demand for his son’s removal from the Cabinet.

According to reliable sources, Mr. Chandy has not yet opened his mind on the subject. He is expected to consider the legal implications of the court cases prior to taking a decision on the issue of the Minister’s resignation.