THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Thomas Chandy,69, is all set to become a minister in Kerala, following the resignation of his party colleague A.K. Saseendran.
Saseendran on Sunday resigned after an audio emerged in which he was heard having a lewd conversation with a woman on the phone.
Both Chandy and Saseendran belong to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the ally of the ruling CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state. Chandy is a three time legislator.
The name of Chandy has been cleared after CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters in Kochi on Monday that the NCP was free to decide on a ministerial candidate, as they were an ally of the LDF.
NCP state president Uzhavoor Vijayan earlier in the day told reporters that being an ally of the LDF, they have a rightful claim to a cabinet berth.
"Tomorrow our party's state committee is meeting and we will decide on what needs to be done as we have one more legislator, Chandy. We are an ally of the LDF and hence we have a natural claim of getting a cabinet post," he said.
Chandy, who has business interests in Kuwait, and also owns a plush lake-view resort in Alappuzha, came into the political spectrum of Kerala by joining hands with K.Karunakaran in 2005.
This was after the latter broke away from the Congress party and formed his own outfit DIC-KA in 2005.
Chandy was handpicked by Karunakaran. Just before the 2006 assembly polls the DIC-KA struck an electoral tie-up with the Congress-led UDF and he contested from the Kuttanad assembly seat in Alappuzha district.
Chandy was the only DIC-K candidate to win in the polls.
In 2006, Karunakaran merged his party with the NCP which was an ally of the Left Democratic Front.
Soon after the merger, the NCP was booted out of the LDF.
It was only in 2010 after Karunakaran and his son K.Muraleedharan ended their association with the NCP and returned to the Congress party, that the NCP was back in the LDF fold.
Chandy decided to go with the NCP, which fielded him in 2011 and 2016 from the Kuttanad assembly seat, which he won.
When Pinarayi Vijayan formed his cabinet, trouble broke out in the NCP with both Saseendran and Chandy staking claim to the lone cabinet berth given to their party.
Finally it was decided to split the five year term equally between the two, with Saseendran getting the first term.
With the green signal coming from the CPI-M and the NCP keen to be part of the governing regime, it's now only a matter of time that Chandy's name is cleared by the LDF.
The only question that remains is will Chandy be sworn in before the Malappuram Lok Sabha by-election on April 12.