Thiruvananthapuram/Kottayam: Kerala Chief
Minister V S Achuthanandan today sacked PWD Minister P J
Joseph shortly after the latter announced his party Kerala
Congress (J)`s decision to quit ruling LDF and merge with
Congress-led UDF partner Kerala Congress (Mani).
Hitting back swiftly after Joseph made public his plans in
Kottayam, the Chief Minister sent a letter to Governor R S
Gavai recommending his removal from the cabinet.
"I have decided to remove Joseph from the ministry. He
has betrayed the Front by holding talks with a UDF partner
while remaining in LDF cabinet", Achuthanandan told reporters
Joseph`s supporters claimed their leader had already
faxed his resignation to the Chief Minister`s office.
Earlier in the day, KC (J) suffered a split as the
anti-merger faction led by former union minister P C Thomas
"ousted" Joseph as party chairman.
Joseph`s supporters also held a parallel meeting in
Kottayam and approved his plan to resign and carry forward the
The development also sparked stiff resistance from
Congress which made it clear that as lead partner of UDF it
would not concede undue demands like allocation of more seats
to a united Kerala Congress in the next assembly polls.
A party which has undergone a series of splits and
re-unions since its formation in 1964 by breaking away from
Congress, Kerala Congress factions have a stronghold in the
Christian heartland of Central Travancore.
The current round of merger move reportedly has the
blessings of some senior Catholic bishops.