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Chandy, UDF allies to talk

Special Correspondent
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To stick to norms on Deputy CM post

United Democratic Front (UDF) convener P.P. Thankachan has said that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will take the politically correct step of discussing the question of creating a Deputy Chief Minister’s post with coalition leaders prior to taking a formal decision.

Addressing a press conference after a crucial meeting of the ruling coalition’s high-power committee here on Thursday, Mr. Thankachan said there were well established processes within the coalition to handle certain matters.

In the case of the Deputy Chief Minister’s post, the matter had to be first decided between Mr. Chandy and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala. This would be later followed by dialogues with the UDF leaders. The post of Deputy Chief Minister is not a constitutional position, hence the opinion of coalition partners needs to be taken. The clearance of the Congress high command is also required, he said.

“All these formalities have to be observed before taking a final decision,” he said.

CM’s clarification

The UDF meeting did not discuss the issue, though the Chief Minister came out with a clarification in view of media speculations about the induction of a Deputy Chief Minister, he said. Asked whether there would be a Cabinet reshuffle, Mr. Thankachan said that to the best of his knowledge there existed a vacancy in the Ministry and a reshuffle could not be ruled out since these were connected issues.

He alleged that the media overplay of the entire question of Deputy Chief Minister had made the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leadership restless

Ganesh issue

With regard to the re-induction of K.B. Ganesh Kumar into the Cabinet, Mr. Thankachan said it had been decided to complete the process of consulting coalition leaders in order to facilitate an early decision. The Chief Minister had received Kerala Congress(B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai’s letter seeking the re-induction of Mr. Ganesh Kumar only a couple of days ago. An earlier UDF meeting had authorised the Chief Minister to hold dialogues with coalition leaders in this regard. Further dialogues will be held on the basis of Mr. Pillai’s letter, he added.

Asked whether protracted discussions on Cabinet reshuffle would not affect the functioning of the government, Mr. Thankachan said no government project had been delayed on account of the political parleys currently on.

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