iconimg Wednesday, April 01, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 03, 2013
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday turned down Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy’s proposal to include Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ramesh Chennithala in the state government that is under attack from the opposition over the solar panel scam. Gandhi’s decision is seen as a setback to Chandy’s efforts for some breathing time to douse the fire over the scandal.

“Today, I am very happy that the Congress president gave the consent to continue as PCC chief and not join the government,” Chennithala said. “I will work for the party in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls and I will try my level best to get more seats in the state,” he added.

The move has further widened the rift between Chandy and Chennithala who was keen to join the Congress-led UDF government only if he was given the deputy chief minister’s post or the home portfolio.

But Chandy didn’t agree, angering the rival camp which argued that Chennithala, India’s youngest cabinet minister, had led the party to power in 2011. While his contemporaries became union cabinet ministers and chief ministers, Chennithala stayed as an AICC secretary, and then as the PCC chief, his supporters said.