Cabinet not unanimous on Mullaperiyar issue, says Muraleedharan

The national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would urge the Prime Minister in ‘strong language' to summon the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to settle the issue of constructing a new dam at Mullaperiyar, V. Muraleedharan, the State unit secretary of the party said on Friday.

Inaugurating a ‘siege' of the Secretariat by hundreds of BJP workers, Mr. Muraleedharan accused the Left Democratic Front and ruling United Democratic Front of ‘betraying' the interests of the people of the State by shying away from resolving it expediently.

The Advocate-General's statement that the old dam posed scarce threat to people living downstream would be a setback to Kerala when the Supreme Court considered the case. Mr. Muraleedharan said the government was protecting the AG whose statement was against the will of the political executive and the people of Kerala.

Certain Ministers who had vociferously demanded that the AG be stripped of his post were now silent. Oommen Chandy's cabinet, it seemed, was not unanimous in its opinion regarding the early resolution of the issue. Mr. Chandy seemed to be afraid of losing his thin majority in the Assembly if he “moved a little finger” against his cabinet colleagues.

Ministers who were elected to govern were now staging fasts and protests against the very government they headed.

Mr. Muraleedharan said the ministers should ideally protest in front of the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi and not at Chappath and Vandiperiyar in Idukki district. The “provocative and irresponsible” statements made by certain Ministers had triggered attacks against Keralites in Tamil Nadu, he alleged.

The stance of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the main Opposition, on the dam issue was at best lukewarm.

The CPI(M) was faction-ridden and its splinter groups were focussed more on shoring up support for their coteries fighting to take control of the party in the upcoming State conference. The CPI(M) seemed to have left the UDF to govern the State as it wished, he said.

The people of Kerala were frustrated by the seemingly endless political dramas being staged in the name of the controversial dam.

The ‘siege' which began at 8 a.m. ended at 12.15 p.m. Hundreds of workers besieged the two gates of the Secretariat, causing a traffic bottleneck at Statue.

Traffic moved at snail's pace through M.G. Road. Timetables of public transport buses were upset, causing commuters to wait at bus stops for hours. Many were forced to take detours to reach their destinations.

BJP district unit president Karamana Jayan presided. State unit general secretaries A.N. Radhakrishnan, K.P. Sreeshan; Mahila Morcha State secretary B. Radhamani; BJP district unit general secretary Venganoor Satheesh; and Yuva Morcha State president V. V. Rajesh were among those who spoke.