The Left Democratic Front (LDF) State committee, which met here on Wednesday, decided to mobilise public opinion against the Union government’s policy of allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector.

Briefing the media about the deliberations at the meeting, front convener Vaikom Viswan said the LDF would organise seminars discussing various aspects of the policy in all the districts in the State between November 20 and 30 involving traders and all other sections of the people in a big way.

The arrival of retail giants in the trade sector was a matter affecting not only the large number of traders in the country, but also farmers and the common man, because the retail giants would soon be dictating the purchase and sale terms, he said.

Devaswom ordinance

Another issue over which an agitation is being planned is the Devaswom ordinance. Mr. Viswan said the LDF legislators belonging to the Hindu community would stage a satyagraha before Raj Bhavan on November 3, urging him not to affix his signature to an ordinance that was unconstitutional and against clear court verdicts.

The ordinance, now before the Governor, restricts voting rights in Devaswom board elections to only Hindu MLAs who had taken oath ‘in the name of God.’ Mr. Viswan alleged that this was because Hindu MLAs were fewer in numbers in the ruling UDF and so the government wanted to prevent voting rights to the Hindu MLAs in the LDF (who took solemn oath) by invoking the ‘in the name of God’ clause.

Mr. Viswan alleged that, seven months into the financial year, local self-government institutions could not begin any of their development activities since the expert panels to examine and approve their projects had still not been put in place.

He alleged that, public postures notwithstanding, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy himself was trying to scuttle the plan to have ‘metroman’ E. Sreedharan and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation handle the Kochi Metro Rail project. Initiatives to establish a deepwater port at Vizhinjam too had progressed not an inch after the United Democratic Front came to power in the State.

Answering a question, he said there was no need for journalists to read too much into diverging views expressed by different parties in the front on one issue or the other. The LDF was a coalition of political parties and each party had its identity and opinion, but on key political issues and matters pertaining to the State and its people, the parties in the front stood united.