THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as no firm commitment on the demand for a fifth minister was given to the IUML leadership at the UDF meet here on Wednesday except that the matter would be brought to the attention of the Congress high command and a final decision would be taken soon, the party became assertive soon after the meeting claiming that there was indeed an assurance and no need for further discussions.
While the high command will be apprised of the IUML demand and political affairs committee and state executive committe of the Congress will discuss the matter, the IUML is keen to get the fifth ministership.
IUML leaders, including Union Minister E Ahamed, Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty, party general secretaries E T Mohammed Basheer MP and K P A Majeed were so polite during the UDF meet.
After the meeting, the IUML leaders were at their assertive best, apparently realising that any let up in their demand would cost them politically. The Congress leadership is also in a predicament on acceding to the demand straight away, since the Neyyatinkara bypoll is fast approaching and a possible communal fallout of Left campaign would weaken the UDF prospects.
There was no dispute over Anoop Jacob’s induction to the cabinet. But if the IUML demand is met, the political ramifications in the central and southern parts of the state may be detrimental to the UDF. “The leftist streak in Congress policies had already eroded with the passage of time and it banks purely on the communal equations while moving forward. Disruption of it may even create a backlash for the entire UDF,” a top leader of the UDF coalition said.
“If the balance is lost, it will be disastrous for the UDF on a whole,” a key KPCC functionary said.
Reliable sources told Express that there was no hue and cry at the UDF meet. KC(Jacob) chairman Johny Nelloor sought an early date for the swearing-in of Anoop Jacob and allotting the same portfolios held by his late father. Minister P J Joseph supported him and felt that the swearing-in of Anoop need not be prolonged under any circumstances.
R Balakrishna Pillai continued with his stand against his son and told the meeting that as Ganesh Kumar was not willing to accept the party directives, the decision was to withdraw the minister. To assuage the feelings of Pillai, the meeting veered around the point that the father-son spat should be settled latest by April 10.