Thiruvananthapuram

Ruling front on the defensive

A file photo of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

A file photo of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.  

The NSS-SNDP Yogam combine appears to have left the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership reeling with their joint onslaught over what they perceive as its policy of communal appeasement.

Clearly flummoxed by the severity of the attack, which began with NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair and his SNDP Yogam counterpart, Vellappally Natesan, holding a joint press conference on Friday and the former following it up with a renewed tirade against Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala on Monday, the Congress leadership is finding itself at a loss of words. And, clearly relishing the difficult position in which the UDF finds itself, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) leadership has been quick to mount an attack on Mr. Nair and Mr. Natesan.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan did not mince words when reacting to the outburst of the two community leaders, but not so the Congress leadership.

Although Mr. Chennithala sought to play the entire issue down stating that the UDF leadership was ready to discuss any grievance that the NSS-SNDP Yogam leadership may have, Mr. Nair was quick to reject it, making it all the more difficult for the UDF leadership to reach out to the leadership of the two organisations.

The UDF leadership’s silence in the face of such ruthless attack itself has come in for criticism from the LDF leaders. It is not that the leadership of the two bodies have not been critical of the UDF leadership, but the intensity of the attack now and the way they have focussed on particular individuals in government have left many wondering what two community leaders are angling for. The LDF leadership sees it as a clear bid to create a sharp communal divide and has warned the UDF leaders against remaining silent in the face of such provocation, but so far there has been no response to their call from the UDF’s side.

The UDF leaders had adopted the same stand when the Left came up with sharp criticism of the Sivagiri Madhom authorities’ decision to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and honour him at the Madhom over a week ago.

Although Mr. Chennithala voiced his criticism of the move, Mr. Chandy was quite restrained in his response. The strategy appears to be same in the face of the NSS-Yogam assault.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 10:57:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ruling-front-on-the-defensive/article4669934.ece

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