05 Mar 2009
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has picked up the gauntlet thrown by CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Pinarayi, during the course of the Nava Kerala Yatra, had declared that the performance of the LDF Government would count in the Lok Sabha polls. Political experts had seen this as a trap set for the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister has now accepted the challenge. Achuthanandan, echoing Pinarayi Vijayan, said that the three years of the LDF rule under him would indeed be a major factor in the elections. “It is only natural. We will definitely take what we have done in these three years to the masses. During this time we have corrected the policy of total destruction followed by Oommen Chandy,” the Chief Minister told reporters at the post-cabinet briefing here on Wednesday.
The CM said that the Left was working towards a secular-democratic alternative to both the Congress and the BJP. The CPM, ever since Pinarayi Vijayan put the Government on the firing line, seemed overly protective of the LDF rule. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat was quick to reject Pinarayi’s line. He said the Lok Sabha polls were not about the LDF’s performance.
CPM legislators, too, were reluctant to adopt Pinarayi’s stance in the Assembly. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, for instance, said that the LDF’s performance mattered but more important were national and international issues.
The Chief Minister said that the LDF independent for Ponnani would be decided unanimously within the LDF. The LDF would not fall into the trap laid by sections of the media that wants infighting within the LDF. Just two more LS seats remain undecided and that these would be sorted out soon, he said.
Achuthanandan said that there were two types of constituencies. One where party candidates can be fielded and others, like Ponnani, where a combined fight was necessary. “In these places it would be difficult to get votes for a CPM or CPI symbol. To command the vote of more individuals, it is important that an independent be fielded," he said.
The Chief Minister struck a balance in his analysis of the PDP.
Serious allegations have arisen about their actions, he said and added that the case against PDP leader Madhani was not proved. It was also wrong to keep Madhani in jail for eight-and-a-half years, he said.
The Chief Minister wanted the media to stop “singling out” the PDP for attack. He wanted the media to facilitate the PDP’s transformation into a secular party.
NAVA KERALA FINALE
At the end of the briefing, the Chief Minister was asked what made him attend the concluding ceremony of the Nava Kerala Yatra. Achuthanandan gave a wide happy smile and said: “Just take it that I made a decision based on public opinion.”