Special Correspondent

UDF game plan is to shield the corrupt, says Sudhakaran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amidst sloganeering by the Opposition members, the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday passed the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Bill, which seeks to give a administrative mechanism to the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards, without any debate.

Speaker K. Radhakrishnan rushed through consideration of the Bill as referred by the Subject Committee in order to complete the business scheduled for the day. Piloting the Bill, Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran described it was the most significant legislation after the Temple Entry Proclamation.

The Bill was adopted without any substantive changes. The Minister moved a few official amendments without explaining what these were and accepted one amendment moved by K. C. Venugopal (Congress).

UDF game plan

Minister for Devaswom and Cooperation G. Sudhakaran has alleged that the real objective of the United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders in creating a commotion in the State Assembly on Wednesday was to shield the corrupt elements in the dissolved Devaswom Board.

Addressing a Press conference here after the Assembly passed the Devaswom Bill amidst the protests of UDF MLAs, the Minister said the Opposition members wanted to delay the passing of the Bill and the constitution of the new Devaswom Boards in place of the dissolved ones.

``No one can justify the events in the Assembly on Wednesday, and they were the results of the conspiracy worked out between the UDF leaders, the corrupt elements and the communal forces.''

According to the Minister, only a minuscule of communal forces and those who were swindling the funds of the temples were against the Bill, which `created a condition conducive for ensuring a corrupt-free Devaswom administration and transparent utilisation of the temple funds.'

The actions of the UDF were in a way defensive of the subversive tactics of such elements.

The Minister argued that there was no cohesive approach in the UDF towards the Bill. Former Devaswom Minister K.C. Venugopal was in favour of entrusting the Devaswom appointments to the Public Service Commission.

As per another amendment mooted by Congress leader G. Karthikeyan even the temple appointments were to be handed over to an independent agency.

But Congress MLAs V.D. Satheesan, T.N. Pratapan, K.V. Thomas as well as the Muslim League leaders C.T. Ahemedali and U.C. Raman were against entrusting the Devaswom appointments to the PSC, Mr. Sudhakaran said.

He alleged that the former Devaswom Principal Secretary had also tried to delay the introduction and passing of the Bill both during the previous UDF regime and after the ascend of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to power.