People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 25, 2011




Temple Treasure is Nation’s Wealth: CPI(M)


N S Sajith


THE CPI(M) has commented that the priceless treasures found in the secret vaults of Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple in Thruvananthapuram are the wealth of the nation. “The wealth of the King is the wealth of the People. The Kings had attached this wealth from the people long ago,” CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told a press conference at AKG Centre, the CPI(M) headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram.


Pinarayi Vijayan also said the CPI(M)’s suggestion is that this wealth should be protected by a separate body with the participation of the royal family, as it is done in the case of Guruvayoor Temple in Thrissur district. The government should follow the ways of Thirumala Thiruppati Devasthanam, he said. The CPI(M)’s suggestion is that the final decision regarding this should be taken as per the Supreme Court’s ruling and the suggestions of the believers.


The value of the treasure must be assessed and the antique value should be protected. The state and central governments should take adequate steps to protect this wealth in future. While answering a question regarding the Devaprashnam, he said the Supreme Court had already snubbed the fallacy of Devaprashnam and the suggestions put by the Jyothishies. The Devaprashnam is nothing but superstition, he said.




A statewide dawn to dusk hartal on September 19, observed by the people of Kerala against petrol price hike, gave a stern warning to the central government. The hartal was called for by the LDF and the BJP separately for restoration of the administered price mechanism (APM) for petroleum products. The 12-hour hartal call also coincided with the vehicle strike called by trade unions in the transport sector. The action ended on a peaceful note but disrupted the normal life in the state.


All shops and commercial establishments remained closed. Public transport vehicles, including KSRTC buses, remained off the road till 6 o’clock. Only private vehicles were seen on the road. Factories and offices in private and public sector remain closed. Workers, teachers and NGOs also joined the strike. LDF activists organised huge protest marches at all district headquarters.


The roads stayed vacant as the public transport system did not provide their services. KSRTC buses did not operate as a majority of the staff boycotted work. Private buses, taxis and auto rickshaws too joined the strike and kept off the roads, hitting public mobility. No major incidents were reported in the state due to the hartal.




The people of Kerala have got many chances to compare the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF). The change of the regime gives them many opportunities to evaluate these two fronts. This is important in view of the ruling front’s latest moves to raise the bus fare and milk price. The failure of the state administration to curtail price rise during festivals like Onam and Eid-ul-Fitr has also angered the people.  


These are simply related to the priority, political will and performance of the two fronts that follow two different ideologies. The recent development regarding a criminal case against the irrigation minister, P J Joseph, is going to testify the morality of these fronts. The future of Joseph’s ministership is at stake as a First Class Magistrate on September 17 issued summons to him to appear before the court on October 22 in connection with a case, alleging that the minister had sent an abusive SMS to a Surabhi Das, a woman residing in Thodupuzha in Idukki district.  


The court issued the summons on the basis of the evidence given by witnesses, including her husband. Left Democratic Front’s convenor Vaikom Viswan has already demanded Joseph’s resignation.  


The minister had a similar record when he was the minister for public works department in the earlier LDF government.


In 2006, Lakshmi Gopakumar, a television personality, lodged a complaint against P J Joseph that he had misbehaved with while they were travelling by a Chennai-Kochi flight on August 3, 2006. Soon after this case was registered, as per the direction of the LDF, the then chief minister V S Achuthanandan advised the minister to tender his resignation. Then the government ordered an enquiry headed by a senior police officer B Sandhya. In this case the district munsif-cum-judicial magistrate’s court at Sriperumbudur has passed an order to acquit Joseph.  


Joseph’s party --- the Kerala Congress (Joseph) --- merged with the Kerala Congress (Mani) prior to the last assembly elections.


The new case against Joseph has multifarious dimensions. Though Joseph alleged political conspiracy behind the case, he aimed his guns against his party leader and the government’s chief whip P C George. George formerly headed a splinter group, Kerala Congress (Secular), that later merged with the Mani group along with the Joseph group. Joseph believes that George and Nandakuamar, editor of a notorious vulgar magazine Crime, have hatched a conspiracy against him. 


Joseph has been charged under Section of 511of the IPC (moral turpitude) and Section 6 of the Information Technology Act. The necessity of the minister’s resignation is not just a moral question; it has also raised a political question which the case raising. The previous government took immediate action after a woman lodged a complaint against him. Now that the court says there is a prima facie case against the minister, will the UDF leadership have the guts to remove him? People of Kerala are keenly awaiting the latter’s answer.