Indicating that attempts to divide different portfolios have not been successful, Kerala UDF leader Oommen Chandy has decided to swear in only the heads of the six parties that make up the Congress led alliance in Kerala.
After the ceremony today, Chandy and Congress Party head in Kerala, Ramesh Chennithala, will leave for Delhi for consultations with the Central leadership on sharing the ministries.
The Congress has been holding talks, officially and unofficially, with its constituents over the last two days, but has not been able to come to an acceptable division.
Among the key sticking points are the division of crucial ministries like Revenue and Education and the number of ministries to be allocated to constituents.
Congress has found its bargaining power in decline after losing most of the seats it contest. Out of the 87 seats it contest, it lost 49, while the Indian Union Muslim League, the second biggest constituent, lost only 4 of the 24 seats and KM Mani’s Kerala Congress lost only 6 of the 15.
The Muslim League is adamant on getting at least five minister slots, while Mani is intent on getting at least 3 slots. Congress, on the other hand, is not keen on offering so many ministries to the two, particularly Mani. Mani, however, is likely to get the ministries of Finance, Law, Housing, Irrigation, and Water Resources while Muslim League is likely to keep the crucial education portfolio, along with all the others it had kept during the previous UDF government.
Meanwhile, the six heads of the UDF constituent parties — three of which are single or dual MLA parties — will swear in as ministers today.
Besides Mani and Oommen Chandy, PK Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League, KP Mohanan of Socialist Janata (Democratic), TM Jacob of Kerala Congress (Jacob), KB Ganesh Kumar, son of Balakrishna Pillai, who has a good grip over the Nair votes of South Kerala, and Shibu Baby John of the Baby John division of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.