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Chennithala to be inducted into Cabinet: Sources

Chennithala to be inducted into Cabinet: Sources

Thiruvananthapuram: In a surprise development ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala is expected to join the UDF ministry headed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Sources say that his swearing-in ceremony is likely to be held on Wednesday.

Though an official announcement is yet to be made, sources indicate that Chennithala is likely to get the Home portfolio, currently held by Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan.

The move, which has the approval of the Congress high command, was broached by senior leader and Defence Minister A K Antony at a meeting of the state leaders here Monday evening.

Chennithala, already an MLA, is likely to continue as KPCC president till the budget session of the state assembly, commencing on January 3, is over, sources said.

The possibility of Chennithala joining the Cabinet had figured earlier also, but it failed to materialise on the question of the portfolio to be allocated to a senior leader like him, who has been heading the party's state unit for the last nine years.

Some party leaders are of the view that induction of Chennithala will help Congress shore up its eroding support base among the majority community in general and that of the Nair community in particular.

The Nair outfit NSS had about a year ago come out openly against the delay in accommodating Chennithala in a "key position" in the Cabinet dominated by members from the Christian and Muslim communities.

Ever since UDF came to power in 2011, Chandy had said Chennithala could join the Cabinet any time but it was for him (Chennithala) and the party high command to decide.

A Cabinet berth is already vacant with the resignation of Kerala Congress (B) nominee K B Ganesh Kumar, after he ran into trouble following a family discord.

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