The Communist Party of India has criticised Anto Antony, MP, for his reported statement that all major political parties have retreated from the agitation against the proposed Aranmula airport project.

In a strongly worded statement issued here on Tuesday, P. Prasad, CPI district secretary, alleged that Mr Antony, who was issuing statements and convening press conferences on behalf of the Chennai-based private airport company, was earning ‘profit’ by betraying the people of Aranmula.

The people of Aranmula had already isolated the local MP, identifying him as a ‘political Judas’ for his stand on the anti-people airport project, Mr. Prasad said.

He also alleged that Mr Antony’s statement that ‘the mass movement against the controversial airport project has come to an end’ might have been made keeping in mind the bounty he expected from the KGS company.

Mr Prasad said the CPI had been in the forefront of the agitation against the Aranmula airport project ever since the land mafia illegally converted a portion of the Aranmula puncha.

The party had also launched strong offensive against the airport project and conversion of the Aranmula paddy fields with active participation of the people and by initiating legal measures. The CPI district council even filed a writ petition before the Kerala High Court against the KGS company, he said.

The CPI leader said a majority of MLAs, including several senior Congress MLAs, had taken a stand against the proposed airport project.

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran had visited Aranmula and publicly expressed his disagreement with the airport project.

Mr Sudheeran had even strongly reacted against the report submitted by the State Environment and Climate Control Department on the project.

Several Congress leaders and workers doggedly supported the people of Aranmula in opposing the project. Leaders of all major political parties and the Left Democratic Front were also firm in their proclaimed stand against the airport project.

The MP should, therefore, clarify as to why he was hiding these facts, Mr Prasad said.

According to Mr. Prasad, the local MP’s controversial statement made at a recent press conference in Kottayam could be taken only as his parting song.

He said the local MP had misused his power for the corporate lobby. Ironically, Mr Antony had announced a few years ago that the Chennai-based company had obtained all the clearances required for setting up the proposed airport project in Aranmula, despite the fact that the company was yet to obtain the most important environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mr. Prasad alleged.

Even the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, had told Sugathakumari, People’s Joint Action Council chairperson, in a letter that the MoEF had not yet given clearance for the airport project, the CPI leader said.

He said the CPI would continue to be in the forefront of agitation against the Aranmula airport project.

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