K. V. Prasad
Regularisation scheme deals a blow to its campaign
COIMBATORE: The measured reaction of the Opposition, led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) in the Corporation Council, to the scheme for the regularisation of unapproved layouts points to the tightrope walk it has to do to keep its political stakes intact.
The parties did not go beyond describing the scheme an election stunt. Curiously, there is no sustained campaign either. It is an interesting shift - at least for the present - from its normal approach of a full-throated campaign if there were chinks in a scheme.
Soon after the scheme was announced on Thursday, the Opposition accused the Government of taking more than 50 months to announce it and also of timing it to the forthcoming Assembly elections. But, the criticism ended there.
Asked why the reaction was unusually low key, sources in the Opposition said they had not got the details of the scheme. Indicating that there were some stiff conditions for regularisation, the sources said these would have to be studied before offering any further comments on the scheme.
But, the Mayor, T. Malaravan, convened a press meeting the very next day and assailed the Opposition for not being democratic enough to appreciate good schemes.
Listing out the advantages, the Mayor said the Opposition parties ought to be thankful to the Government for coming out with a scheme they had been demanding.
After having forced adjournment of Council meetings for non-provision of amenities in these layouts, it was strange that the Opposition only criticised the scheme, he said. Now, the Opposition is yet to react to the Mayor's accusations.
While it wants to study the scheme thoroughly before launching a full-scale assault, it wants to be extremely careful in wording statements. With the Assembly elections in April-May and the civic polls in October, the Opposition appears intent on gauging public response to the scheme before any further reaction.
With associations of residents in these layouts also assessing the scheme, the Opposition may wait for their reaction and them draw up its own plans.
Politically, the Opposition may consider it incumbent on itself to pick holes in the scheme. But, if a major part of the scheme is acceptable to the residents in the unapproved layouts, the same political considerations may force it to hold back criticism and avoid public wrath. The Opposition may not want to be seen as one that opposes the scheme on political reasons.