Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala cabinet rejig got a boost Friday when Speaker G Karthikeyan expressed his desire to step down for returning to active politics.
Addressing a press conference Friday, a day after the assembly session ended, Karthikeyan said he has informed Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, senior Congress leader AK Antony and party`s state president VM Sudheeran about his wish to step down.
"I have been involved with the Congress from the age of 14 years and all through, I have had the blessings of my party. It has given me everything and I am hugely indebted to it. Since I want to return to active politics, I have asked my party to allow me to step down from the speaker`s post," he said.
Karthikeyan, 65, is a six-time legislator and has represented a few assembly constituencies in the capital district. He was a cabinet minister twice when Antony headed the state government in 1995 and in 2001.
Chandy`s announcement of a cabinet rejig got delayed because of the party`s debacle in the Lok Sabha polls that prevented the party high command`s concurrence.
Sources close to Chandy indicate Karthikeyan will become a minister and the speaker`s post will be given to Chandy`s close aide and present Minister of Rural Development and Culture KC Joseph.
Among others being considered for the post of speaker is Forest and Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
All eyes are now on Chandy to see if he will just replace Karthikeyan with a minister or if he picks fresh faces after dropping a few ministers.
With Sudheeran away in the US and returning only on July 25, a final picture will be known only then.
Chandy has already made it clear that the rejig will be done after first discussing it in the party, then in the United Democratic Front and then with the party high command.
Incidentally, as and when Karthikeyan resigns, it will be proved again that no speaker from the Congress has had a full five-year term.
Moreover, only K Karunakaran of the Congress had a full five-year term as chief minister.