Good response to the Kerala Chief Minister’s mass contact programme signals a symbolic political victory for him.

The successful conduct of the first of his mass contact programmes comes as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Apart from the number of petitions disposed of during the marathon run of the programme, the successful conduct of the programme signals a symbolic political victory for the Chief Minister who has been facing a Left Democratic Front (LDF) agitation for the last three months seeking his resignation in the solar scam.

The mass contact programme was scheduled to be held in August, but was postponed owing to the Opposition agitation, which included black flag demonstrations, blockades, and boycott of his official functions.

Mr. Chandy had at two previous post-Cabinet press briefings last week expressed confidence about the outcome of the mass contact programme since it was an attempt to reach out to the common man. He was also confident that the LDF would not be able to overstretch its agitation methods to scuttle his plans. If this was a hunch, it appears to have paid off.

“The objective of the programme is to bring the government closer to the people,” he remarked at the brief inauguration of the programme here.

The LDF leadership had to abruptly end the day’s agitation taking a cue from the large crowds that flowed into the Central Stadium close to the Secretariat.

The mass contact programme was well organised and divided into sessions. The response to the Thiruvananthapuram mass contact programme is sure to be repeated in other districts as well, providing him a platform to come back into political reckoning. Congress leaders cutting across factions did not grudge giving Mr. Chandy the credit for the success, but cautioned against getting carried away.

The Chief Minister, some of the Congress leaders felt, should consolidate his position by setting up platforms for proper discussions at the party level.

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