Kerala

CPI(M) may discuss Sudhakaran’s remarks

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Public Works Minister criticised Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board

The embarrassment caused by the caustic remarks made by Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) is likely to figure at the CPI(M) State secretariat meeting on Friday.

The Minister’s criticism of KIIFB headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was directly aimed at Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac. It had left the party red-faced and also virtually armed the Opposition United Democratic Front that had been targeting it since the Lok Sabha and Assembly byelections.

The Left Democratic Front had been projecting the off-budget mechanism as its growth-engine and also proudly parading an array of infrastructure development projects that the board had been initiating at its behest in the State.

Braving flak

Mr. Vijayan himself took up the task of braving the Opposition flak, especially during the Pala Assembly byelection, and termed the allegations had stemmed out of the fear and jealousy over the popularity and efficacy of the board.

When Mr. Sudhakaran himself targeted the board, a reinvigorated Opposition spared no time and swung into action accusing the government of stymieing the Comptroller and Auditor General’s repeated pleas for auditing the KIIFB accounts and also cast serious aspersions over the funds availed of from various channels for financing development schemes.

Though Dr. Isaac offered a firm reply and clarified that the government was not opposed to any audit, the continuing Opposition tirade has put the government on the defensive and is also feared to sap the gains the LDF accurued by winning three seats in the Assembly byelections.

Controlling Ministers

Neither the party nor the government had to face such a predicament in the recent past and undoing the damage would not be easy either. The State leadership will have to crack its whip against senior leaders and Minister passing such comments and will have to jointly come out in defence of KIIFB that is already under siege, sources said.

Since the local body elections are scheduled to be held soon, the party could ill-afford to neglect such moves and will have to take the plunge.

If the Opposition decides to sustain its campaign against KIIFB till the local body elections, it would seriously affect the LDF prospects and hence the secretariat may resort to corrective measures, sources said.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 4:31:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cpim-may-discuss-sudhakarans-remarks/article29964107.ece

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