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Partners sore over image crisis of Chandy ministry

Partners sore over image crisis of Chandy ministry

Thiruvananthapuram: With the failure of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's move to make over the image of the Congress-led UDF ministry through a cabinet rejig, key front partners IUML and Kerala Congress-M on Sunday voiced concern over the problems continuing in the front.

Leaders of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and KC (M), who met separately, resented their parties being dragged into the aborted move to reshuffle Congress nominees in the cabinet by accommodating KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala as Deputy Chief Minister.

The two parties were also displeased about Congress high command's reluctance to elicit their views after party leaders in the state said openly that the Centre would consult the allies before settling the issues faced by the ministry.

After a meeting at the residence of IUML supremo Panakkad Syyid Hyderali Thangal at Malappuram, general secretary E T Muhammad Basheer said his party had nothing to do with the failure of the move to bring in Chennithala into the cabinet.

He was alluding to reports that IUML was stiffly opposed to making him DCM, a post which his party feels is entitled to though it is non-existent now.

"The propaganda that our intransigence is responsible for the situation is utterly baseless. We only suggested that the Congress high command intervene and sort out the issues," Basheer, a Lok Sabha member, told reporters after the meeting.

Echoing similar sentiments, KC(M) leaders took objections to the partners being blamed for the problems in the coalition holding that they mainly sprung from the Congress.

"Though it is an internal issue of Congress, our opinion is that Chennithala should be accommodated in the cabinet by giving a befitting position. Whether he should be made Deputy Chief Minister or not is an issue to be decided by the UDF collectively", KC(M) leader and Finance Minister K M Mani told reporters in Kottayam.

With the ministry coming under a cloud in connection with the solar scam and internal issues, Chandy had last week made a concerted move to overcome the crisis by reinforcing the social base of the coalition by giving greater representation to different sections in the government.

As part of this, he renewed the invitation to Chennithala to join the ministry and wanted the high command to prevail upon him to do so.

Chennithala, apparently of the view that joining the ministry at this juncture would harm his long-term prospects, resisted the move and secured the endorsement of the high command for his position.

After rejection of his proposal by the high command, Chandy on Saturday said "status quo" would continue in the party and government till Lok Sabha polls got over.


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