(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 20, 2011
Insult to Kerala During PM's Visit
N S Sajith
AN apparently apologetic prime minister of India did it in the eleventh hour. To make a phone call to express his regret for his indifferent attitude towards the people of Kerala, he had to wait till 9.30 in the night on 14 February, even after an unprecedented resolution passed in the morning by the state legislative assembly. Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh called up Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandan and expressed his regret for the whole affair.
Even the Congress leaders too secretly admit that the neglect against the governor, chief minister and ministers was unwarranted but they fought a tough battle against the resolution in assembly and even staged a walkout after rushing into the well. But the counter attack by the ministers and MLAs from LDF helped to get the resolution, moved by paliamentary affairs minister M Vijayakumar, passed in the House. Opposition leader Oommen Chandy opined that the LDF government was at fault for the shortcomings made by the officials.
The incidents which led to the passage of such an unusual resolution against the central government have become a point of discussion in the public sphere of Kerala. Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited the state during 11 and 13 February for the commissioning of Vallarpadam Container transshipment Terminal in Kochi and new terminal of Thiruvananthapuram international airport. The humiliation against the people of Kerala was at the peak in Kochi, when the ailing governor of Kerala R S Gavai wanted his wife to accompany him in the aircraft of the prime minister. He put this request but officials declined and the PM hardly interfered in the matter. The governor was on the verge of boycotting the function, but he himself withdrew from that hasty decision. On the same day governor Gavai and chief minister Achyuthanandan were denied entry into the hotel in Kochi where the prime minister stayed due to security reasons. The state government had booked rooms for the governor and CM days back.
The advertisements published regarding these two major events in newspapers (released by central government) did not carry the photographs of chief minster and governor. And the plaques laid as part of commissioning of container terminal and new terminal in Thiruvananthapuram International Airport also do not carry the names of state dignitaries.
The state government was successful enough to acquire sufficient land for the container transshipment terminal, handling a huge protest by the people. The rehabilitation package announced for displaced people was lauded even by critics. But the attempt by the central authorities to steal the credit became a shameful act.
In the assembly, the matter was raised by Anathalavattom Anandan (CPI-M) through a submission that virtually turned into a debate with Achuthanandan and some of his cabinet colleagues narrating their bitter experiences during PMís visit. VS said he was not provided a room at the Taj hotel int Kochi where Singh stayed overnight on arrival on February 10.
LDF members alleged that it was an insult to the state as a whole. Ministers Elamaram Kareem and C Divakaran also narrated their experiences when they went to the BrahMos Aerospace function here as state's representatives during Singh visit to the hi-tech unit.
As the Congress high command gives nod for the return of K Muraleedharan, son of late Congress leader K Karunakaran, the leaders of Kerala unit are fearing new series of infights. Muraleedharan, who is also a former KPCC president and former electricity minister in UDF government, is re-entering the helm of Congress after an interval of six long years. Many leaders and political observers think that the re-entry would cause a new dawn of infights and the new entrant will topple the present leadership pattern of the Congress in near future.
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and Opposition leader Oommen Chandy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi this morning and the High Command took the decision to invite him to rejoin the Congress. Muraleedharan expressed delight with decision of High Command.
Muraleedharan was suspended from Congress in 2005 for anti-party activities and he formed a new party Democratic Indira Congress with a band of thousands of workers and with the blessings of his father, K Karunakaran who also left Congress and joined DIC. Even though Karunakaran returned to the Congress, Muraleedharan preferred to join NCP and he became the state president of NCP. In his last days, the Congress stalwart Karunakaran eagerly lobbied with Congress leaders to take Muralidharan back into the party. After Karunakaranís death in December, leaders like Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy gave the hints that Muraleedharan would soon be taken back.
These two leaders were actually not in favour of Muraleedharanís re entry even after Karunakaranís death. But other senior leaders like A K Antony, Vayalar Ravi, Mullappalli Ramachandran, campaigned for Muraleedharan's re-entry. These leaders want that there should be a level playing ground in Congress. Since they are stationed in Dehi, they think that Muraleedharan will be a strong bet to restrict the powers of Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy. A K Antony thinks that these two leadersí handiwork led to his resignation from chief ministerís post.