How long will calm in Congress unit in Kerala last?

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 4 : An uneasy calm prevails in the state unit of the Congress party after its president Ramesh Chennithala announced that he would not be joining Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's cabinet, as was feverishly speculated.

"Never before has the state seen such reporting by TV channels. Reporters reached their own conclusions, then blamed us, as if what they formulated was the opinion of the party," senior Congress legislator Dominic Presentation told IANS.

Presentation, however, ignored the context in which the media began its speculation --factionalism in the party is as old as the party itself, and squabbles intensify when the Congress is in power.

The only time a Congress chief minister ever completed his five-year tenure in the state was in 1987 -- that feat was achieved by K. Karunakaran.

On other occasions, Karunakaran stepped down in 1995 as chief minister, making way for A.K. Antony. And Antony had to make way in 2004 for Oommen Chandy.

With the party high command on Friday agreeing to Chennithala's request to continue as president, the next round of a possible reshuffle in the cabinet will most likely wait till the completion of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Chennithala refused to respond to queries about internal party matters.

People in the state, however, are unused to any truce between rival factions in the Congress lasting long. The party high command has urged all leaders in the state to maintain discipline. It remains to be seen, though, how long the "guns will remain silent".

--IANS (Posted on 04-08-2013)

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