news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Keerthi Prakasam | The News Minute | June 12, 2014 | 3:47 PM IST  Cabinet reshuffles in Kerala have always been controversial, especially under the ruling Congress led United Democratic Front. Ever since the UDF came to power in 2011 - a minister quit and another joined the cabinet.  The reshuffle drama in 2013 When the Solar Scam broke, the government was caught off guard. The woman accused in the case Saritha Nair who duped people promising a solar scheme, captured headlines for her alleged friendship with possibly every other Congress leader in the state. Then hit the next issue - Saritha’s influence in the Chief Minister’s office. The high command sensed the restlessness even among Congress men. Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of the Congress I, led a dissent against Chandy, demanding a reshuffle. When this threatened to go put of proportion, the Congress decided that one way to keep Chennithala quiet is give him a cabinet portfolio. They ordered Chandy to reshuffle his cabinet. Dramatic statements and demands followed the CM’s announcement about the reshuffle. The then Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan did his best to retain his seat, but Chennithala and his men sent out a clear message – they did not want any “trivial” portfolios. Oommen Chandy had to give in to the Congress I's demands and Chennithala walked away with the Home portfolio. Oommen Chandy in a fix again Reshuffle nightmares have come back to haunt the Congress. This time it is Oommen Chandy who wants the reshuffle, and Ramesh Chennithala opposing it. Balakrishna Pillai, the Kerala Congress (B) chief wants his son Ganesh Kumar to be inducted back as minister in the state cabinet now. Ganesh Kumar was the Sports and Cultural Affairs Minister till April 2013. After allegations by his former wife Yamini Thankachi that he was physically harassing her, Chandy had no other choice but to ask Ganesh to quit. This also made way for Chennithala’s entry into the cabinet. But Balakrishna Pillai, despite threatening to leave the UDF stayed on. Pillai now wants his reward for being a good ally and wants his son to be taken back. Barely a year after the UDF went through its last cabinet reshuffle, the government is preparing for another one. Torn between Chennithala’s worry he will lose his berth and Balakrishna Pillai’s hopes is the poor CM. And to make things worse for the CM, the new Congress state chief has made his priorities clear. Congress Chief Sudheeran has declared that prerequisites for the reshuffle and new inductions should not be factional politics but capability and qualification. Considering that the cabinet is already at a maximum now with 21 ministers, every group is afraid to become “the casualty”. Meanwhile, Chandy is still caught in that fix …
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