Kerala: Congress MLAs meet to elect the next CM

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Congress hand
Thiruvananthapuram, May 15: Kerala's newly elected Congress MLAs are meeting here this afternoon to elect their leader, who will head the United Democratic Front Government in the state.

Chandy's seniority, adminstrative experience and skills to manage the coaltion are seen as his favourable factors over KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala who also won the election this time.

A former chief minister, Chandy also enjoys the confidence of the front partners, which is crucial in running the government which commands only a wafer-thin majority of just two seats above the half-way mark in the 140-member house.

After the CLP meet, the UDF leaders will hold a session to formally endorse the Congress leader as head of the coalition.

Central Congress functionaries Mohsina Kidwai and Madhusudan Mistry are slated to attend the meet of the 38-member CLP as the AICC observers.

According to Congress sources, the new chief minister would assume office in a day or two alongwith the floor leaders of major allies Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Kerala Congress (Mani).

The cabinet would be expanded later after discussions among the partners about the number of berths and portfolios to be shared.

Since it is important for the front to strike an image of a cohesive and efficient set up despite the thin majority it enjoys, the thinking in the UDF is that it would be unwise for the coalition to delay the ministry formation.

The indications are that in the 20-member ministry, the lead partner Congress would get 10 berths including that of the chief minister. The second largest constituent would be given four berths and the Kerala Congress (M) three.

Single-MLA constituents Kerala Congress(Jacob),Kerala Congress (B) and RSP (B) would also be accommodated in the cabinet since their support is also vital for the survival of the ministry.

Outgoing chief minister and CPI(M) stalwart V S Achuthanandan resigned yesterday, accepting the verdict.

PTI

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