Cong strikes a balance in Kerala

Group loyalists get cabinet berths

When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced the names of his nine party colleagues to take oath as ministers on Saturday, it only underlined the group loyalties that determine the Congress brand of politics.

Among the names, Aryadan Muhammed, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, K C Joseph and K Babu belong to the ‘A’ group headed by Chandy himself. Interestingly, the ‘A’ stands for A K Antony though the Defence Minister is known to have transcended group loyalties in the party.

The other four nominees–A P Anilkumar, Adoor Prakash, V S Sivakumar and C N Balakrishnan are identified with the “unified I group’’ led by Kerala PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala. 

Apparently the names of the three senior leaders, who were in contention for ministership, had to be struck off to accommodate staunch loyalists of Chandy and Chennithala. They were G Karthikeyan, V D Satheesan and K Karunakaran’s son K Muralidharan. The names of Karthikeyan and Satheesan are being considered for Speaker’s post though the latter has declined to accept it. 

Karthikeyan and Muralidharan have both said that they were unwilling to change their ‘stand’ for the sake of ministership. The ‘stand’ denotes an independent course bereft of factional loyalties. “I don’t want to be minister if it comes at the cost of playing groupism,’’ said Muralidharan.

The Congress watchers also point out that as expected the party has struck a fine balance among various caste groups by giving representations to Nair, Ezhava and Backward Classes.

However, there is no denying the fact that at the end of the day it was an MLA’s group loyalty which stood him or her in good stead. The new ministers will take oath of office and secrecy on Monday.

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