Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandys attempt to rope in state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala into his Cabinet came to a naught Monday with the latter declining to be part of the crisis-ridden government whose image has been tarred considerably by the solar panel controversy.
Chennithalas decision is interpreted differently by the two dominant factions in the state Congress. While the A group led by Chandy believes it is a bargaining tactic by Chennithala to bag the all-important Home Ministry which will establish him as the clear No. 2in the government,those close to Chennithala said he was not keen to join the government at a time when its credibility has taken a big hit. The A group,sources said,was not willing to part with the Home Ministry,now with Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
Chandy was hoping to effect a Cabinet reshuffle to spruce up the governments image at a time when allegations against his office and some of the ministers of his Cabinet in connection with the scandal are flying thick and fast.
While media revelations on the solar scandal had already pushed Chandy on the backfoot,the leader of the influential Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam a caste outfit has claimed that all ministers in the Chandy Cabinet,except three or four,have had either sexual or financial relations with alleged con woman Saritha S Nair,who is now in judicial custody.
Both Chandy and Chennithala are in Delhi,but they did not meet. Chandy had meetings with Congress president Sonia Gandhis political secretary Ahmed Patel,Defence Minister A K Antony and AICC in-charge of the state Mukul Wasnik. Chennithala too met Wasnik after which he made it clear that the situation has not changed for him to review his decision of not joining the Cabinet.