The crisis in ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) appears to be deepening.
Though all the jarring developments are centred on the impertinent remarks of UDF Chief Whip P. C. George, the unrest in the UDF is basically the result of ongoing power struggle. There are conflicts of interest not only among the Front constituents but also within the constituents.
The controversy over remarks made by Mr. George against JSS leader K. R. Gouriamma and her late husband and CPI leader T. V. Thomas has escalated to such a level that the Speaker G. Karthikeyan has to refer the mater to the privileges and ethics committee of the House. The JSS, a constituent of the UDF, has openly demanded that Mr. George should be removed from his post. There is also a section within George’s own party (Kerala Congress) which wants Mr. George removed from the Chief Whip’s post.
However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had so far not been showing willingness to disturb Mr. George even as he is facing some rebellion within the Congress. Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed is critical of the Budget allocations made by Finance Minister K. Mani. The complaint is that both the Chief Minister and Mr. Mani is catering to Muslim League’s demands, ignoring other constituencies. More Congressmen are joining the argument over Budget. What stand they would take during the debates in the ongoing session of the Assembly is important for the Chandy government. Mr. Mani feels that criticism by Congress has taken off the sheen of his Budget.
To add to the discomfiture of Mr. Chandy, Opposition Member Babu M. Palissery (CPI-M) has come up with an allegation that Excise Minister K. Babu had taken bribes from liquor companies. He also implicated the Chief Minister’s economic advisor.
Against the background of the unrest in the UDF, the Opposition is sure to hammer the ruling front in the Assembly. It has even indicated it would not be shy away from efforts to bring down the government.