Neyyattinkara by-poll convention hits out at functioning of CPI(M)

The United Democratic Front (UDF) on Thursday launched its campaign for the Neyyattinkara Assembly by-election by projecting a united face, besides confronting the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] for its ‘undemocratic functioning' that had forced the by-election on the electorate.

The occasion was the election convention of Congress candidate R. Selvaraj, the former CPI(M) leader who quit the party as MLA from the Neyyattinkara constituency. The UDF leadership projected its united face by lining up all the front line leaders of coalition partners, subtly sending the message across that the coalition had left behind its troubles caused by the row over the induction of the Indian Union Muslim League's (IUML) fifth Minister in the Chandy cabinet.

Inaugurating the election convention, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy set the election agenda by stating that the CPI(M) had till date not responded to the questions posed by Mr. Selvaraj's resignation as MLA and from the party. The CPI(M) went on to make wild charges against the Congress leaders, including him and Mr. Selvaraj, who had later denied each one of the charges. However, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, later, came out with the truth by disclosing that his party had initiated action against Mr. Selvaraj. Mr. Chandy said Mr. Selvaraj's resignation symbolised the degeneration in the CPI(M). His resignation is the latest in a series that included three former CPI(M) MPs, M.P. Manoj, R. Sivaraman, and A.P. Abdullakutty. “No other party has witnessed such an exodus of leaders. Am I or Mr. Chennithala responsible for this? Instead of addressing issues that has led to such exodus, the CPI(M) is trying to find scapegoats,” he said.

Mr. Chandy said the CPI(M) was facing paucity of ideas. It was groping in the dark at the national level to find a political space.

It was confused about its revolutionary credentials and had disowned China.

“The CPI(M) was not willing to learn from the political realities facing it and stand by the people. It is the same undemocratic style of functioning and attitude that led to the resignation of Mr. Selvaraj,'' Mr. Chandy said.

Mr. Chandy criticised the CPI(M) for its dubious positions while in office and in Opposition.

When it was in power, it spent its time in dissensions and schism. As an opposition party, it was adopting negative positions that would push back the State's development, he said and urged the electorate to write a new chapter in Kerala history by electing Mr. Selvaraj.

Speaking on the occasion, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala drew the historical background of Neyyattinkara, which had hosted Sree Narayana Guru and was home to leading personalities such as Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai.

He said that Mr. Selvaraj, by resigning as MLA, had upheld democratic values. His victory would provide the strength to the UDF to complete its full term, he added.

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