Oommen Chandy is back as Chief Minister of Kerala and ready to lead the State to where he did five years ago – a landslide victory for the Left. In the recent election the surprise result was that the Congress and the UDF slipped from boasting of a 100 seat victory to a miserably narrow margin. Three people are mainly responsible for this verdict – Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and VS Achuthanandan.
The Achuthanandan government was a failure mainly because of the infighting in the CPI (M) and lack of experience of some ministers. But the former CM is a fighter. I have personally suffered because of his vettinirathal (scorched earth) policy some years ago. Also, in my opinion, Communism is an outmoded concept. But I do appreciate VS Achuthanandan’s leadership and determination.
I believe that this is a true event. During the Chinese War, VS was locked up in Poojappura Jail, Trivandrum, along with many Communist leaders. He committed a “great crime” by donating blood for the Indian soldiers. For this he was demoted from the Central Committee of the Communist Party to the State Committee. During his tenure as Kerala CM also he was relegated from the Polit Bureau (PB) due to pressure from the Party’s officialdom in the State. In the last two elections, VS was initially denied seat. Finally the State unit had to give in because the party men wanted him. And Achuthanandan became the star.
State CPM leaders are still reluctant to acknowledge Achuthanandan’s contribution to the Party’s unexpectedly good performance. The Left had written off any hope in the election. Then one man stood erect and announced that LDF would win. He put the message across so effectively that the demoralized Comrades started believing him and waking up. They worked so hard that CPI (M) almost won.
What happened to the Congress? The overconfident leaders failed to galvanize the party members. Two aspirants for Chief Ministership first made sure that Central Minister Vayalar Ravi’s chance is blocked. They were sure that VM Sudheeran would only talk and not get into the act.
Then the question was Oommen Chandy or Chennithala? This adversely affected the Congress at every stage of the election process. The people of Kerala did not appreciate both of them contesting the election. People knew that both aspired the CM's post. Finally Oommen Chandy got the apple and Chennithala put up an unhappy looking brave face. The former also let fly a statement that Hindu consolidation against UDF was worrying. What does that mean? If there was such a move shouldn’t the two leaders have realized it before the election?
One of the first acts of the new CM was to reportedly interfere in the Kannur University affairs. It is said that he wrote to the Governor who is the Chancellor that something was wrong with the University administration. It is doubtful whether he bothered to check the reality. His Congress people went on the war path and locked the Vice Chancellor in his room.
The demand of the Congress was most ridiculous. They wanted a written undertaking from the Vice Chacellor that the University would obey the verdict of the Kerala High Court in a case that is going on about the technicality of an appointment. May be they didn’t know that every Indian is duty bound to abide by court judgements. They themselves were breaking the law and court judgements at that point of time.
The CPM is already on the war path. The Vigilance Department has been instructed by the Government to re-investigate a case against a ministerial nominee even though the charge sheet has been already filed and the matter is before the court. The Left is protesting.
The list of Ministers has been finalized. The sad part is that a most suitable man is dropped – VD Satishan who scored a remarkable victory over Panyan Ravindran, the CPI leader at N. Parur in the recent election. The TV debate in which he so thoroughly humbled Thomas Isaac would be remembered for long by those who saw it. He is outstanding among the present lot of Congress men of Kerala. A strong, capable newcomer could be a challenge to those in comfortable positions. Therefore nip him in the bud or sidetrack him with Speaker post or something like that.
The Left of course is waiting. They seem to be confident that this Government would not last for long. Back to the polls? Or cross over of some from UDF to LDF? But the tension within the LDF might help the UDF. If Oommen Chandy makes a mess, Ramesh Chennithala might get a chance contribute his bit. Till the next elections.
God save God's own country.