Plans of the Congress high command to bring order in the Congress-led Oommen Chandy Government at the earliest became very clear on Friday, with the Chief Minister himself asserting that a decision on Cabinet reshuffle would come very soon.
“It is for the Congress high command to take a decision. The decision will come at the earliest,’’ Chandy told mediapersons in New Delhi, as he continued his damage control exercise amid a barrage of adversities flooding him as an offshoot of the Solar scam.
Chandy had met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and discussed issues dogging the State Government. He also held crucial talks with Ahmed Patel, political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, soon after his arrival on Thursday night.
Officially, Chandy had gone to New Delhi to attend a reception meet organised to honour him on receiving the UN award for his Mass Contact Programme. Chandy’s eagerness to somehow wriggle out of the turbulent phase in his current innings as Chief Minister was quite evident, as he said that he had always welcomed KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala joining his cabinet. ‘’I will be only too happy,’’ he said.
However, Chandy continued his vacillation on the portfolio issue when Ramesh comes in. On queries whether the Home portfolio will be allocated to him, which had become a bone of contention and eventually aborted earlier moves for a reshuffle, Chandy said that those things come only afterwards.
‘’Aren’t you who are deciding the portfolio of ministers?’’ Chandy threw back a poser jokingly. ‘’Let a decision on his joining the Cabinet come first,’’ he added and said that discussions had not taken place so far. On the resignation of Shaffi Mather from the post of economic advisor to the CM, Chandy said that it had nothing to do with his office and the same was explained by the former himself.
Asked on the charge of T C Mathew from New Delhi that as Chief Minister, he had not intervened when informed that Saritha S Nair had duped him (Mathew) in the name of a Solar project and Tenny Joppan, his former personal staff member, was also involved, the Chief Minister said that Mathew had not given a written complaint when he came to visit him for the first time.
‘’I asked him to give a written complaint. When it was handed over, I immediately handed it to the police. There was no mention of Joppan’s name in it,’’ Chandy said. On Thomas Kuruvilla, who used to function as his aide in New Delhi, Chandy admitted that he had accompanied him during his trips but maintained that none of those who had committed any wrong would escape. ‘’Whoever had done wrong would face punishment. None should have any doubt on it,’’ Chandy reiterated.