Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said that the Union government has done what it had to do on the Mullaperiyar issue by calling the Chief Ministers of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu for talks.

Talking to reporters here on Thursday, Mr. Ravi said the allegation that the Centre and Union Ministers and MPs from Kerala were inactive on the issue was baseless. It was up to the Chief Ministers of both States to come for the talks, which they were yet to do. Declining to divulge who had an issue with the talks, Mr. Ravi said the “Centre could not use force to bring them to the discussion table.”

The Union Ministers from Kerala wanted the issue to be settled at the earliest and the MPs from the State, in fact, had spoken more strongly in New Delhi on the issue than those from Tamil Nadu, he said adding that he did not know what else to do.

“If you know what we should do now, tell me and I shall convey it to the Centre,” was his reaction when asked whether the Centre should interfere in a more proactive manner.

Earlier, Mr. Ravi said it was time the Communist Party of India (Marxist) showed more clarity on its ideological stance. It was too early to say whether the use of posters of Jesus Christ in its party campaign was actually a change in its approach to religion or whether it was a political ploy to exploit the sentiments of religious minorities. If the CPI (M) was trying to make amends for its anti-religion stance, that was good. However, if that was the case, then the party should remember its stance on the late CPI(M) MLA Mathai Chacko receiving extreme unction. If the current move was a penance for its earlier stance, then the CPI (M) should first apologize to the soul of Mathai Chacko, the Minister said.

Mr. Ravi criticised the CPI(M) stance that it had lost the last Assembly elections owing o issues within the Left front. This, he said, was a ploy to boost the morale of the party cadre by trying to make them believe that the party had never lost to the UDF. The CPI(M) should accept defeat and admit that it had lost to the strengths of the UDF, he said.

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