Masterstroke by Oommen Chandy on amendments to EFL
When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy decided to refer amendments to the Ecologically Fragile Lands Act for a party-level discussion before committing it to the Cabinet, many in the Cabinet were taken by surprise. His detractors were quick to see in it an attempt by the Chief Minister to avoid a confrontation with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran, who has been insisting on the party's involvement in the government’s decision-making process. But there was, perhaps, more to it than met the eye. Besides being a deft political move intended to keep the KPCC chief in good humour, it ensured that the party constituted a sub-committee with members who would return a favourable report. At the end of the day, that is precisely what happened. Mr. Sudheeran too could hardly complain that the EFL decision was taken without political discussions. No wonder they call politics an art, with immense possibilities.
Change of heart?
Will the Kannur MP K. Sudhakaran eat his words and allow himself to be persuaded to be in the fray in the Lok Sabha elections? One has to wait for some more time to get a clearer understanding of what the ‘strongman’ of Congress in the district intends to do as his party begins the process of candidate selection. His announcement a few weeks ago, that he had informed the party high command that he may be spared this time, has emboldened his followers to say that he alone is the person most suited to court the Kannur electorate. His wish to be active in politics in the State will fall on deaf ears, if what some of his followers confide is true. But Mr. Sudhakaran is not without enemies in his party in the district. The former District Congress Committee president P. Ramakrishnan's recent outburst against him just shows that there are some, if not many, leaders who do not share Mr. Sudhakaran’s views. But there are not many to replace him as a one-man army against the CPI(M). Not many, therefore, are surprised his followers have already begun a poster campaign for him in some places.
Culture Minister K.C. Joseph could not have bet for anything better. There he was at Tangasseri harbour in Kollam digging away, egged on by the officials of the Department of Archaeology that he presides over and a fairly large gathering of the local populace. Lo and behold, he dug up two coins of early Chinese vintage! There was clapping all around and a beaming Minister handed over the two coins that he had ‘excavated’ to the officers and was all smiles as he left, perhaps feeling gratified that he had etched his name in some future textbook as the one who was very much there when south Kerala's close linkage with early Chinese traders was unravelled as part of dredging operations to increase the draft of the newly constructed Kollam cargo port. But a little bird was heard saying that the coins were mysteriously found at the very spot where the Archaeology Department officials requested the Minister to dig and try his luck!
With inputs from
Girish Menon (Thiruvananthapuram),
Mohamed Nazeer (Kannur)
and Ignatius Pereira (Kollam)