Mullaperiyar Samara Samithy's protest tomorrow

The Kerla Congress(M) has decided to give ‘moral support' to the State-wide hartal called by the Mullaperiyar Samara Samithy on January 18. The decision was taken at a meeting of the political affairs committee of the party here on Sunday night.

According to a press note issued by the party here on Monday, Jose K. Mani, MP, chaired the meeting. The steering committee of the party which met in Kochi last month had decided to withdraw from the agitation on Mullaperiyar for a period of one month following assurances from the Central government to the effect that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would make an intervention to find a lasting solution to the dam issue. The deadline had ended on Sunday.

According Joy Abraham, general secretary, the party had scheduled a meeting of the steering committee in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, but had to postpone it on account of the indifferent health of party chairman K.M. Mani. Hence, the political affairs committee met on Sunday.

The party had charted an independent course of action on the Mullaperiyar issue, though the cause was the same as the one championed by the Mullaperiyar Samara Samithy, Mr. Abraham said. “Though the samara samithy had announced its hartal call without consulting the party, we decided to extend moral support to the hartal call since our causes were the same,” he added.

Mr. Abraham maintained that the party did not take the hartal call as an anti-Centre agitation. However, he said the party was of the opinion that the Prime Minister's interventions were not as effective as it should have been. The immediate reason for the decision appears to be the statement of the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Aswini Kumar on Sunday to the effect that the dam was ‘safe.' Mr. Abraham said the steering committee of the party would meet before January 30 to chart the future course of action on the issue.

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