KERALA

No scope for consensus, says Isaac

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Jan. 28 . The CPI(M) MLA, Thomas Isaac, today asked whether the Antony Government had any moral right to speak of consensus while bulldozing ahead with its policies.

Participating in the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address in the Assembly, Dr. Isaac said it was strange that the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, who represented a party which spearheaded the `liberation struggle' that brought down the first EMS Government in the State, should now talk of consensus to the Opposition.

He said wrong policies would be resisted by the Opposition. On the one hand, the Government was pushing ahead with policies spewing venom at the working class and the under privileged and on the other, seeking the Opposition's cooperation on the plea that there should be consensus on issues concerning the State's development. ``Consensus is impossible on these terms'' he said.

``Did you heed our demand to have the agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) discussed in the Assembly before it was signed by the Government? Did you take the Opposition into confidence in the case of the Modernising Government Programme? Words alone would not suffice. You have to show by your actions that you are for consensus,'' he said.

Dr. Isaac said the Opposition was fully committed to the State's development. The Leader of the Opposition, V. S. Achuthanandan, himself had clarified this position with his participation in the inaugural function of the Global Investor Meet (GIM) in Kochi recently. As Mr. Achuthanandan had explained, the Opposition would support all projects that would benefit the State and its people. And projects with wrong motives would be stoutly opposed, Dr. Isaac said.

He said there were indeed areas where there could be consensus here. For instance, the M.S. Swaminathan Committee, in its report, had mentioned several issues relating to World Trade Organisation pact and Exim policy, which the State should take up with the Centre. ``We are ready to stand with you on these issues for the sake of the farmers of the State,'' he said.

He said that, unfortunately, this was a low priority area for the Government, as was evident from the Governor's Address, which contained no reference to the topic. Nor was there any mention in the Governor's Address about the basic issues confronting the traditional industries like coir, he said.

The Muslim League MLA, K.N.A. Khader, said the GIM was the best thing to happen in Kerala during the entire history of the State spanning nearly half a century. It had kindled investor confidence and revived fresh hopes in the hearts of 44 lakh educated unemployed, he added.

The motion of thanks was introduced by the Congress MLA, K. Narayana Kurup. Others who participated in the discussion included George J. Mathew (Congress), Binoy Viswam (CPI), Neelalohithadasan Nadar (Janata Dal), Shibu Baby John (RSP-B) and Stephen George (Kerala Congress-M).

K. C. Venugopal (Congress) said that police had done commendable work at Sabarimala and Alappuzha (in connection with State School Youth Festival). There was nothing wrong with the police policy though some officials were bend on disrespecting people's representatives.

The previous Government had misused the police and subverted investigation. Now, even the CPI(M) leader, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, could travel safely to Kannur. He urged that the Government should continue the crusade against corruption.

P. T. Thomas (Congress) said that it was the LDF Government that had first placed the Periyar Industrial Water Supply Scheme for foreign investment during a conference at the American Consulate in Chennai. Now, it was opposing the project.

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