It should not come as a surprise to close observers of politics in Kerala that KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala has declined to join the Oommen Chandy government.
Mr. Chennithala knows well that he is to gain little by joining the ministry as this juncture either as deputy chief minister or home minister.
Deputy Chief Minister would mean little for Mr. Chennithala as it is very difficult to grow as a power centre in government when Mr. Chandy is in government. Mr. Chandy has more grass-root support than Mr. Chennithala and is a better political strategist than Mr. Chennithala. Home Ministership would only be a bed of thorns when the government is facing a series of accusations.
The government’s stock is likely to come down in the coming days and Mr. Chennithala too would have to go down with it if he joins the ministry. On the other hand, there is a real possibility that Mr. Chandy would be forced to step down after the Lok Sabha polls. Then Mr. Chennithala would face not much challenge in getting into the Chief Minister’s chair. (Mr. K. M. Mani has also tossed his hat in the ring. However, Sonia Gandhi is understood to have rejected his claim. That explains recent critical statements by Mr. Mani).
He stands to lose nothing by continuing till then as KPCC president. If the Chief Ministership does not come his way after the elections, he still can look for a minister ship at the Centre if Congress is returned to power.
Actually, the positions regarding Cabinet reshuffle had been taken much earlier by Mr. Chennithala and others. The issue was raked up again to divert attention from solar panel scam. As on the earlier occasion, none could agree on each other’s claims and demands. By Wednesday, Mr. Chandy had stated that there would be no major revamp. Today, all the parties are back to their positions stated earlier.