Staff Reporter

UDF resorting to `horse-trading': CPI(M)

PATHANAMTHITTA: Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary K. Ananthagopan alleged here on Thursday that the "ouster" of the democratically elected chairman and vice-chairman of the Pathanamthitta municipality through "political horse-trading'' was testimony to the "anti-democratic policies" of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

At a press conference, Mr. Ananthagopan, accompanied by K.C. Rajagopalan, MLA, and all Left Democratic Front councillors, alleged the rival front had managed to pass the no-confidence motion through unethical practices and by aligning with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr. Ananthagopan alleged that Rosamma Kuriakose, councillor, who had contested and won the elections on the Kerala Congress (Joseph) ticket, and another independent member, Sandhya Santhosh, who had signed a declaration of her support to the Left front for five years, had defected to the rival camp on monetary compulsions. The KC(J) district unit and Left front chief whip Zakir Hussein had issued separate whips to Ms. Kuriakose to vote against the motion. He said the Left front would move the Election Commission soon to disqualify Ms. Kuriakose under the Kerala Local Authorities (Prohibition of Defection) Act, 1999.

He alleged that the no-trust motion was brought to enable leaders of the rival front to indulge in large-scale corruption in the sale of shops at the municipal bus station complex under construction. Moreover, a few former municipal leaders from the Congress were facing a Vigilance inquiry on corruption charges.

He said it was natural for the Left front to protest against the unholy designs of the rival camp when the municipal council met on January 10. Allegations of its misusing the police machinery were baseless. Democratic Youth Front of India State joint secretary R. Sanalkumar and Revolutionary Youth Front State secretary Saleem P. Chacko were present.

UDF response

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly G. Karthikeyan said the credit went to the judiciary for the smooth conduct of the discussion on the no-confidence motion.

Mr. Karthikeyan, lea ding a team of United Democratic Front MLAs to observe the situation in connection with the motion, told presspersons that misuse of power, especially of the law-enforcing agency, had always been the policy of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).