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Antony asks state Congress leaders to settle dispute

Antony asks state Congress leaders to settle dispute

Thiruvananthapuram: In a bid to resolve the rift between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala in the State unit of Congress, CWC member and Defence Minister AK Antony held talks with supporters of Chandy and Chennithala at Kannur on Friday.

The rift between Chandy and Chennithala following the confusion over non-induction of the latter into the Cabinet snowballed into a crisis in Congress in the last few days.

Antony who arrived at Kannur to attend the 85th anniversary of Payannur Congress committee, met leaders including, K Sudhakaran, MP, KPCC vice president MM Hassan, Minister KC Joseph and Union Minister KC Venugopal.

Talking to reporters, Antony said there was not such issue in the state party that could not be resolved. "My wish and hope is that the dispute would be settled by the state leaders itself through talks. My firm belief is that the issues in the state would be resolved here itself", he said.

Both Chandy and Chennithala were not attending anniversary celebrations as Chandy was away in Idukki and Chennithala has been indisposed.

Chandy had always maintained that Chennithala could join the ministry ever since the UDF came to power in 2011. However, Chennithala had said that he was not interested to become minister.

However, the issue of Chennithala joining the Cabinet gained momentum after the one-month-long completion of Kerala Yatra by him earlier this month.

The group supporting Chennithala feel that Chandy 'humiliated' Chennithala by denying him a suitable portfolio after wooing him to join the ministry.

Chandy and Chennithala had held a one-to-one discussion earlier this week on the issue, but failed to arrive at an amicable solution with regard to the portfolio and position of Chennithala in the Cabinet.

Groupism, a bane of the Congress in Kerala for decades, resurfaced recently after Chennithala's possibility of joining the UDF Ministry dimmed.

What added a serious dimension to the rumblings in the last few days was a newspaper interview in which Chennithala purportedly said it would be difficult for him to maintain the same smooth equation with Chandy since he felt he had been insulted over the ministerial issue.

Chennithala, however, had said he had not given any such interview though he did not altogether refute its contents.

On his part, Chandy had made it clear he is not prepared for an open debate on internal issues and did not think that Chennithala would have said it would be difficult for him to continue the smooth relationship with the Chief Minister.


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