Chandy likely to be next Kerala chief minister
Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader Oommen Chandy is tipped to become the 21st chief minister of Kerala as the 38-member Congress legislature party meets on Sunday to choose a leader after the party-led United Democratic Front won the Assembly Elections.
The legislature party meets at 3.00 pm. A team from the Congress high command will be present to oversee the selection of the leader.
"The UDF leaders will later decide on when the swearing in ceremony should take place and other details of allocation of ministries to allies," Chandy, who was chief minister earlier, said.
Chandy had replaced AK Antony in August 2004 as chief minister after the Congress put up a dismal performance in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
The UDF won 72 seats in the 140-member Kerala Assembly. The Left Democratic Front, which swept the 2006 Assembly polls by winning 99 of the 140 seats, managed 68 seats this time.
The Congress put up a dismal show with 44 of its candidates losing, but alliance partner Indian Union Muslim League saved the day for the UDF with 20 of the 24 candidates winning convincingly.
Kerala Congress (Mani) got nine seats, while the Socialist Janata Democratic two seats, Kerala Congress (Jacob), RSP (B) and Kerala Congress (Pillai) got one seat each.
State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala, who also won the elections, is believed to have made an attempt to run for the post of chief minister. However, the party high command is believed to have opted for the experienced Chandy.
The UDF will also be meeting to reach a broad understanding on the number of Cabinet ministers each party should ask for.
Even though according to the rules, excluding the chief minister, there could be 20 Cabinet ministers, it is likely the UDF will settle for 19 ministers as was done by the outgoing Left Cabinet.
The tentative date of swearing of all the UDF constituents is likely to be fixed for Wednesday and the detailed list of Congress ministers would be finalised in Delhi.
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