People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
During the five
years of LDF government, there was not a single lock-up killing by the police.
Under the UDF rule, the police took eight valuable lives in lock-up.
government's policy for power sector in the state was on its way to putting an
end to load shedding and to convert Kerala into a power-surplus state. But the
UDF bandwagon lost not a moment to take Kerala back to the days of power-cuts
and load shedding.
The LDF government
maintained an employee-friendly atmosphere in the state and granted all
legitimate rights due to its employees. The UDF sowed seeds of unrest among
employees within a short while.
To maintain a
peaceful educational atmosphere, the LDF government saw to it that the police
did not wreak havoc in colleges in any case. But the UDF regime let loose the
police in many college campuses within days of its take-over. The police
committed most heinous atrocities in University College, Thiruvananthapuram.
The UDF regime has
also reversed the updated syllabi of the schools and went back to the outdated
syllabi that stand rejected by civilised societies the world over. The mode of
instruction was reversed to the old teacher-centered system from the new
child-centered system that was being successfully implemented throughout Kerala.
The local governing
bodies were denied their due share. This has crippled the People’s Plan that
was acclaimed the world over as a development mode for the developing and
underdeveloped societies. The LDF’s meaningful attempts towards
decentralisation were foiled and all powers centralised in the hands of UDF
is suffering from an acute power shortage, leading to lockouts, slowdown and
under-production. Traditional industries are facing closure due to the UDF
policies. Peasants are facing an acute fall in the prices of their produce and
hence impoverishment. In the name of user charges, increased power tariffs and
travel fares have been imposed upon the people, along with additional tax
burdens. The job situation has worsened with the threatened ban on fresh
Thus all spheres of
life in Kerala are witnessing a perilous reversal, with an unprecedented
disregard for development. The UDF is out to give up all development projects.
So is it giving up all welfare schemes on the plea that they are unproductive.
In a span of 12 months, the UDF has thus reversed the growth trajectory that
Kerala had taken to since its birth in 1956.
The UDF leaders are
themselves not sure whether their government would satisfy any section of the
people. Chief minister Antony said
he was not satisfied with his government’s performance. But if the chief
minister is not satisfied, who would be? So asked Karunakaran, the Congress
patriarch in Kerala. The UDF’s parliamentary affairs minister had no claim to
make on completion of one year of UDF rule.
admissions are being made not in sincerity but to malign the LDF as responsible
for their mal-administration. They say they are unable to do anything due to the
financial crisis the LDF created. They are thus evading responsibility for the
last one year, and will possibly do so for the next four years. The alleged
financial crisis is thus a way to run away from all developmental activities, to
kill the welfare schemes and to sell out the public sector undertakings to their
There is no denying
that there were certain financial difficulties and the LDF faced the polls
before it could solve them. The UDF exploited the situation during the election
campaign to mislead the people. But one year has elapsed since they came back to
power, and they are still using the allegedly LDF-created “crisis” as an
excuse for their inefficiency and anti-people policies.
But who expects
honesty from the UDF leadership! They are spreading the canard of a financial
crisis also to surrender to the anti-people and anti-Kerala provisions dictated
by the Asian Development Bank. They are pushing Kerala into a veritable debt
trap, retarding the state’s growth, killing its self-reliance and pushing it
back to the old days of rampant exploitation.
The gravest danger
the UDF has posed to Kerala in the last one year is the communalisation of
political power. Antony acted as a humble servant of the caste and communal
forces on all decisive occasions. It is well known that Antony & Co came to
power not because the UDF had sufficient political backing. It got 47 per cent
of the votes polled because of the overt and covert assistance from communal
forces like the PDP, and also the BJP, that collaborated with the UDF to oust
the secular, democratic and Left forces from power. One of the main items in the
UDF agenda is thus to appease the caste and communal forces.
Kerala has so far
not sent any BJP man to its legislature. It is an established norm in every
state that only parties represented in the assembly are invited to the formal
meetings. But Antony violated this norm and began to invite the BJP to formal
meetings summoned by the government, giving political sanctity to the BJP in
Kerala. This same man had supported in early 1990s the BJP-RSS argument that the
minorities should live as per the pleasure of the majority community. This is democracy, he had then
said at a public forum in a function to commemorate late Mathai Manjooran.
Antony is the only non-BJP chief minister who did not speak a word against the
Narendra Modi regime in Gujarat. He entrusted one of his cabinet colleagues to
invite Advani to Kerala. He is the only non-BJP chief minister who did not take
part in the conference convened by West Bengal chief minister Buddhadev
Bhattacharya on saffronisation of education. Rather, he went to the extent of
criticising that conference by shamelessly saying that the word saffronisation
is being used in such a way as to wound the Hindu sentiments. He is trying to
appease the BJP on the one hand and the caste and communal forces in Kerala on
the other. But in the process he has lost control over the law and order
situation in the state. Kerala society had to pay a very heavy price for this
shameless policy of Antony --- in Marad, Thaikkal and Pathanamthitta.
minister’s desire to appease the BJP has led to the loss of many of the
state’s rights, as he refrained from asking for what is due to Kerala from the
centre. Antony goes to Delhi frequently but only humbly submits memoranda to the
prime minister and issues press releases that he is satisfied with the
centre’s attitude. Take an example. Orissa got Rs 500 crore from the centre to
face a grim flood situation. Kerala too witnessed a grim flood situation, but
got nothing as relief from the centre. Kerala also lost a huge Rs 3,665 crore
because of inefficiency of the Antony regime, as the amount recommended by the
Finance Commission was arbitrarily reduced. During his stay at Kumarakom, the
prime minister proclaimed a package for Kerala. But it was only a deception. The
state government too did not argue to get what was promised.
servility reached its height in his decision to sign a memorandum of
understanding with the centre, which many states, including West Bengal, have
refused to sign. The main points of this MoU are perilous to the states’
interests. They include the privatisation of public units, retrenchments,
reduction of the employees’ rights, an end to subsidies, etc, all to the
detriment of the people’s interests. Is Antony doing all this because he came
to power by four lakh-odd votes that the BJP ‘lost’ in the elections?
legislature into confidence is a basic rule of democracy. But the UDF regime has
time and again violated it. Many important policy decisions were taken by
ignoring the legislature, even when it was in sitting. This was done even
regarding the ADB loan that is going to adversely affect the people in many
ways. The chief minister and the finance minister time and again stated that the
transaction would be 100 per cent transparent. But so far the legislature has
been kept in dark about the loan and the attached conditionalities. The cabinet,
especially chief minister, is very particular that the legislature is not
informed of the details in any case. The legislature was kept in the dark about
the abkari policy too. Electricity and bus charges were hiked within
days of conclusion of an assembly session. The IT and labour policies were
publicised outside the assembly. In spite of its brute majority, the government
is afraid of an assembly discussion. The Malayalam version of the budget text
has no reference whatsoever to the conditionalities of abject surrender to the
ADB, while they are all numbered one by one in the English version. A clear
attempt to cheat the people.
The government even
had the temerity to publish the governor’s address with such references and
points as were even mentioned when the governor was addressing the assembly.
What was published was much different from what the governor had said.
MALA & FORESTS BILL
ministers’ relatives and friends have grabbed the Sholay forests of
Mathikettan Mala. One of the rarest forests in the world, they had to be
protected by legislation and the government was duty-bound to convert the
ordinance issued by the LDF government, to take over 25,000 acres of forest
lands under government control, into a law. But the UDF regime postponed the
enacting of the Kerala forests bill 2001 to enable their financiers to grab the
forest lands for cardamom and cannabis cultivation.
promise to convert the ordinance into a law without any alteration, the bill was
presented to the assembly only at the fag end of its session. Then, in a
deliberate move on part of the government, it was sent to the Select Committee.
The delay caused the ordinance to lapse, enabling the forest mafia to grab as
much land as possible till a law is enacted. This is in sharp contrast to the
haste the regime displayed to pass the bill to privatise road construction; this
bill was not sent to the Select Committee.
To twist the
assembly proceedings to favour the vested interests, especially the forest
mafia, three opposition members were arbitrarily suspended from the assembly.
The Kerala assembly then created a dubious precedent of completing a day’s
proceedings in a record four minutes.