MLAs' explanations likely to be rejected

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 24. The Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, is likely to reject the explanations submitted by the 12 MLAs owing allegiance to the Karunakaran faction in response to the show-cause notice issued to them. The KPCC, on the other hand, is likely to recommend to the high command that the MLAs' indiscipline be referred to the Disciplinary Action Committee. At least two of the MLAs, D. Sugathan and P. P. George, would lose their position as CLP secretary and Congress Chief Whip respectively.

According to reliable sources in the CLP, the identical replies given by the MLAs have been sober in the choice of words, but the claims were not factual. The replies, submitted by the MLAs on Wednesday, did not challenge the party leadership, but the claim that they did not participate in the rally held at Kochi on March 2, but only at the public meeting inaugurated by K. Karunakaran was untenable.

The sources said that the rally and the public meeting could not possibly be differentiated. Similarly, it was Mr. K. Muraleedharan who had played a key role. The KPCC would submit a report to the AICC about the participation of the MLAs in the Kochi rally. Since the CLP and the KPCC are on the same track, the high command would not be in a position to reject the proposal. It is possible that the high command would ask the KPCC disciplinary action committee to look into the matter.

Mr. Chandy appears to have made his point about maintaining party discipline irrespective of whatever follow-up action Mr. Chandy might or could take against the erring MLAs. The disciplinary actions clearly indicate that Mr. Chandy prefers to take a hard position and would take all steps within his powers to limit the political functionality of the Karunakaran faction.

Chandy's dig at Jacob

The Chief Minister hit out at the Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader, T.M. Jacob, for having voted with the Opposition during the debate on the Kerala Gaming Bill that was passed by the Assembly the other day.

Mr. Jacob had voted with the Opposition on an amendment to the bill regarding the definition of "gaming". The incident took place after the Opposition demanded a poll on Mr. Jacob's amendment even though he said he did not want to press for it.

Mr. Chandy said that Mr. Jacob was violating all coalition norms, either through his unwarranted criticism of the UDF Government and its policies. Mr. Chandy said hat the matter would be discussed in the UDF.

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