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CPI(M) eyes Chandy’s ouster

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is divided on the idea of ousting the ‘thoroughly discredited’ Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Government, and forming an alternative government.

What set off speculation about the efforts for an alternative government was a remark by Kerala CPI secretary Panniyan Ravindran that Finance Minister in the UDF Government and Kerala Congress(M) chief K M Mani was no political untouchable for his party. Mani was a gentleman than Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Panniyan’s statement followed reports about the political moves to make Mani the CM of an alternative government.

RSP leader and former minister N K Premachandran promptly extended his party’s support to the idea. The RSP leader said further efforts in this direction could be made if Mani took an open stand on the issue of leaving the UDF.

However, the CPI(M) has made it clear that it is not at all enthusiastic about the idea of an LDF government at ‘this point of time’. State CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is said to have told his CPI counterpart Panniyan Ravindran at their meeting on Tuesday that the time was not ripe for such a move.

The State CPI(M) is credited with the view that the focus should continue to be on the demand for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s resignation and a judicial probe into the solar scam. The LDFF should wait for the Chandy Government to collapse under the weight of its own problems and contradictions. Such a ‘principled stand’ would fetch the front handsome rewards in the Lok Sabha elections due next year. That is the CPI(M) stand.

CPI(M) Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also said the alternative government proposal could be considered when the allies which are not happy with the style of functioning of the Chief Minister, leave the UDF.

The state CPI secretary also came round to this view, albeit reluctantly, after his meeting with his CPI(M) counterpart, Pinarayi Vijayan. The idea of unseating the UDF Government through illegal moves is not on the political agenda of the LDF as of now, he declared.
However, the LDF has decided to intensify the agitation to secure Oommen Chandy’s resignation and a judicial enquiry into the solar scam. The UDF Government won’t be able to resist the rising tide of public opinion for long, according to LDF sources.

The LDF decision has come as a relief for the beleaguered UDF Government. Speculation about the possibilities of Mani becoming the CM had created concern in the UDF camp. Congress leader and MLA TN Pratapan had even gone to the extent of seeing a conspiracy by KC(M) leader and government chief whip P C George to take the party to the LDF camp. UDF convener PP Thankachan also betrayed the tension in the UDF by stating that any move by the KC(M) or other allies of the UDF to cross over to the LDF would amount to a betrayal of the people’s trust and the UDF’s mandate.

True, in the face of the CPI(M)’s opposition, Mani has sought to allay the fears of the Congress on his chief ministerial ambitions. But it is an open secret that he is unhappy about the big brother attitude of the Congress. The Mani-for-CM move is also being construed as a bargaining tactic for a better deal in the matter of seat allocation for the Lok Sabha elections.

The KC(M) is said to be of the view that the party deserves at least two Lok Sabha seats, if not three. Mani also wants a berth in the Union Cabinet for his son, Jose K Mani, currently an MP. If the Congress does not concede the twin demands, the possibility of Mani walking out of the UDF cannot be ruled out altogether.  
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