The CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy of trying to deflect attention from the negative consequences of the Indo-ASEAN free trade agreement.
In a statement here on Friday, Mr. Vijayan said the Opposition leader had accused the CPI(M) of having opposed the pact for China’s benefit because of his worries about the popular resentment about the pact snowballing into a major agitation. The farm produces and fish produced by the ASEAN nations were the same as those produced in Kerala. The situation was no different in the traditional sector as well. The productivity in these nations was higher and cost of production lesser than that in Kerala. As such, granting of permission for import of ASEAN products into India would result in total collapse of the State’s agricultural and allied sectors. The UDF leaders like K.M. Mani had come out against the pact realising this, the CPI(M) leader said.
Mr. Vijayan pointed out that the Centre had appointed a sub-committee to study the impact of the agreement, though nothing but a eyewash, following a huge public outcry over the issue. The Centre’s response itself showed that opposition to the pact was quite widespread. Mr. Chandy’s arguments did not tally with commonsense and was the product of his concern and worries about the kind of agitation that was taking shape in the State, the CPI(M) State secretary said.