Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today refuted reports that he had brought pressure on Congress high command in the selection process of party candidates for the May 16 assembly elections and said as a “loyal” partyman he never disobeyed the wishes of central leadership. “As a loyal Congressman, I have never disobeyed or went against the wishes of Central leadership. I am also confident that the high command would only take decision in the larger interests of the party and the people of the state,” he told PTI.
Oommen Chandy had locked horns with KPCC President V M Sudheeran, over the candidature of ministers K Babu and Adoor Prakash, who had faced corruption charges, besides NORKA Minister K C Joseph and two MLAs—Dominic Presentation and Benny Behanan -- with the state party chief opposing tickets to them.
Only Behanan was kept out of the list announced late Monday evening and it was interpreted that the high command fielded the tainted leaders because of Chandy’s pressure tactics. The Chief Minister said he was saddened by such “wrong propaganda” and asserted that no Congress worker can challenge the authority of the party high command.
“There is a propaganda that we had challenged the authority of Congress high command while determining party candidates...There are reports that the high command had to succumb to our pressure tactics. That is completely wrong,” Chandy said. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala also endorsed Chandy’s statement saying “we have never disobeyed party high command”.