Party leadership times its response during Assembly session
To try to get support from other LDF partners
Alleges interference by Finance Ministry in other Ministries
KOTTAYAM: The Kerala Congress (J) leadership, caught in a series of setbacks for the past two years and which had given the impression of having held little control over the turn of events, appears to have brought itself into an assertive mode with Saturday’s declarations at the joint meeting of the party’s high-power committee and secretariat.
By openly taking up the issue of “double standard” within the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and projecting it as the major concern of the party at this point of time, KC(J) chairman P.J. Joseph appears to have articulated his intention to be assertive not only within the front but also within the party, which had been losing its focus, both politically and organisationally.
Mr. Joseph made it clear that there was a strong feeling within the party that unlike in the case of Forests Minister Benoy Viswom, who has found himself in the centre of a controversy over the Ponmudi land deal, the former Minister for Public Works T.U. Kuruvilla was not extended the support by the LDF leadership when facing an allegation over a land deal. A judicial inquiry was instituted in Mr. Kuruvilla’s case, and citing the “media coverage and popular mood,” he was forced to step down as Minister.
While Mr. Joseph will take up the matter at the LDF meeting scheduled for September 20, the party is in no way oblivious of the impact his statements on the issue is going to have at a time when the Assembly is in session.
The interval may be used by the party for bilateral discussions with LDF partners in mopping up support for its cause.
While it will not insist on Mr. Viswom’s stepping down, the party is sure to press for an inquiry, it is learnt.
Though the double-standard issue is the one being talked about in the open, it has been pointed out that the party leaders are also peeved over the way the Public Works Department allegedly denied funds when it was under its Minister and how the funds started flowing in once he quit.
The issue is sure to come up during the bilateral talks.
The party believes that “interference of the Finance Department in other’s portfolio” is sure to find more takers.
The KC(J)’s woes against the LDF leadership started during the seat-sharing exercise for the 2006 Assembly elections. During sharing of portfolio too, there were attempts to downgrade the party’s ranking by giving it a less-important portfolio, party leaders said.
The attitude towards its leaders caught in controversies was the latest in a list of “step-motherly treatment” being meted out to them, they said.
On internal matters, a more assertive leader at the helm is expected to put down the parochial interests that had come to play in the party during the past two years. Even at Saturday’s meeting of the high-power committee, an attempt was made to focus on the issue of selection of Minister rather than take up the larger issues.
However, this lonely voice was put down by others who rallied behind the chairman.
A leadership more assertive in dealing with the LDF and an organisation more united under the leader is expected not only to refurbish the party’s image, which had suffered in a series of allegations, but also act as a shield against such attempts in future.