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VS' speeches may harm LDF: Ravi

Special Correspondent
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Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said the speeches of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will create negative effects for the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Addressing a ‘meet-the-press' programme at the Thrissur Press Club here on Saturday, Mr. Ravi said the Chief Minister was speaking inappropriately while referring to political issues and leaders.

“He is saying that he will send people to jail. He has no right to say this. The country has a penal system. And the guilty are punished through judicial trials. One man does not arbitrarily send others to jail. A Chief Minister should not speak in such a manner. After the initial thrill they give, such speeches become tiresome,” he said.

Mr. Ravi said the UDF, however, would take seriously Mr. Achuthanandan's opinions about how to deal with the corrupt. “If it comes to power, the UDF will scrupulously put into practice his ideas in this regard,” Mr. Ravi said.

In reply to a question, he described as unfortunate the former Health Minister, K.K. Ramachandran's, allegations against Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy.

“Mr. Chandy has responded to the allegations. A question remains: why did he wait for five years to raise the allegations? Such issues will not affect the UDF's prospects in the Assembly elections. Moreover, such debates are common in the Congress in which party discipline does not mean oppressive stifling of views,” he said.

Asked whether Mr. Chandy would be the next Chief Minister if the UDF came to power, Mr. Ravi replied, “Defence Minister A.K. Antony has answered this question appropriately. He said the people of Kerala knew who the next Chief Minister would be.”

Replying to a question, Mr. Ravi observed that hike in fuel prices could be checked through fuel tax cuts by the State government.

“The Oommen Chandy government did this to the benefit of the common man,” he added.

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