Special Correspondent

`State needs a `Karma Yogi' as Chief Minister to usher in development'

Says faction fight in CPI(M) set to intensify `Kerala politics caught in ideological conflict' Says people need higher living standards `Achuthanandan cannot lead Kerala to progress'

Thiruvananthapuram: The former Chief Minister A.K. Antony said here on Monday that the Left Democratic Front (LDF), if it came to power after the coming Assembly elections, would not be able to provide a stable and progressive government owing to complex internal problems in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

At a meet-the-press programme, organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists' Trust here, Mr. Antony, a Congress Working Committee member, said CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat himself had admitted that the party's State unit was facing complex internal problems. That party's central leadership had not succeeded in resolving the torrid faction fights in it for the last one year, and it was unlikely to do so even after the elections, as promised by Mr. Karat, because the fight is all set to intensify.

Mr. Antony felt that Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who had now emerged as the `Chief Ministerial candidate' of the Left Front, was not the man of the times to lead Kerala to progress.

"I have great regards for Mr. Achuthanandan who has several good qualities. However, he is not the man to lead Kerala to progress. Mr. Achuthanandan has not been able to fully encompass the changes taking place within his party. How is it possible for him to fully encompass the changes taking place the world over?"

He said Mr. Achuthanandan was a man of agitations. His political record had been one of opposition to all progressive movements. Kerala did not require a Chief Minister who would lead an agitation, but rather a "Karma Yogi" who would slog it out for the development of the State.

He said people of the State, irrespective of their social standing, yearned for improvement in living standards. Political parties should understand the changes that had taken place in the minds of people who had been influenced by images they saw in television and messages sent back home by their breadwinners abroad.

He said that for decades, Kerala politics had been caught in an ideological conflict. Ideology and politics should be for the benefit of people. The United Democratic Front (UDF) fully understood the changes that had taken place in the mindset of people. During the last five years, it had risen to the expectations of people by ensuring the State's development and peace and security. The State, which had been bankrupt, had been able to overcome financial difficulties, ensuring investments of Rs. 40,000 crores.

At the end of the UDF tenure, the State was financially better off, registering a growth rate of 9.5 per cent. The track-record of the Left Front had been one of opposition, beginning from the agitations against mechanisation of the farm sector to computerisation, he said.