THE Election Commission of India set to announce the poll dates of Kerala by the first or second week of March, the Congress led United Democratic Front which has been expecting a landslide victory for the outfit is now in a dilapidated state with the UDF leaders entering into one or the other controversy. The UDF which has been cruising along with the recent results of the local body polls and the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in which the front romped home with heavy margings, has however now hit a road block.
While it was a local news channel which brought sleepless nights to the state general secretary and the most powerful leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, PK Kunhalikutty and it was the Supreme Court of India which upheld a session’s court verdict against R.Balakrishna Pillai in a case related to graft when he was Power Minister in the state in the nineties.
These two incidents has taken the sheen out of the UDF campaign as sources in the Congress Party who were part and parcel of the Kerala Mochana Yatra conducted by the leader of the opposition in the state legislature, Oomen Chandy. The yatra which has been galloping had to suddenly move ahead by reducing the gear lost its spark once the ice cream parlour sex scandal case in which the Muslim League general secretary PK Kunhalikutty stands in the list of accused came out in the forefront, thanks to the efforts by India Vision, a Malayalam news channel whose chairman is none other than Kunhalikutty’s colleague and Muslim League state secretary Dr MK Muneer.
While defending Balakrishna Pillai in the case related to the Supreme Court verdict, Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Kannur constituency, K Sudhakaran lashed out against the judges in the Supreme Court and said that he had seen a few bar owners showering money upon a judge of the Supreme Court to get a positive verdict. Sudhakaran also said that those who had become Judges had once been to several politicians to get the coveted post .This remarks, created a furore in Congress circles and the political firmament of Kerala with the leader of the opposition in the state legislature, Oomen Chandy totally opposing the stand taken by Sudhakaran and explaining that the Congress Party has utmost respect and obedience to the courts. The state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala also said that the Congress Party has utmost respect for judiciary and believes that it is the judiciary which upholds the democracy in a country.
The Congress national leadership also react the statement given by Sudhakaran and Union Law Minister, Veerapa Moily, while speaking to media persons in Chennai and Delhi said that every one should respect the law of the land and that the Congress as a political party was totally supportive of judicial system.
The CPI-M and the BJP also came out strongly against Sudhakaran and the State Home Minister and CPI-M politbureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told media persons that the police should register a case against Sudhakaran in his statement that he had seen money being handed over to Supreme Court judge. The Museum police charged a case against Sudhakaran that he was a mute spectator to the money being transferred to a judge and did not act in preventing the crime.
Another major incident which has also come as a negative publicity to the Congress leadership is the open verbal duel unleashed between the senior Congress leader VM Sudheeran and the new recruit to the Congress, AP Abdulla Kutty. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala however defended Abdulla Kutty and said that the Kerala Development Congress which was the venue of the spat between Sudheeran and Abdullakutty was a platform wherein free views which could be critical to the Congress party’s avowed position, could be aired. Ramesh Chennithala also said that there should not be any further spat between anyone in this regard.
Sudheeran who is considered as a paragon of virtue by the Kerala masses, immediately reacted and said that he was pained at the manner in which the KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala has commented to this issue. Sudheeran further told media persons that people like Abdullakutty who does not know anything about the Congress Party should not have been given party positions immediately after he joined Congress. It may be recalled that Abdullakutty was a CPI-M, MP and he was expelled from the party and Congress immediatly roped him in and made him an MLA.
While the Congress and the UDF are mired in these controversies the LDF is consolidating its position with the Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan taking up positions much to the delight of the middle class and women. The long crusades he took up in the cases related to the sex scandals and corruption are finally bringing him results with the Ice cream parlour case in which, PK Kunhalikutty was an accused came to the forefront once again. Highly placed sources in the state police told Organiser that Kunhalikutty may be arrested by the end of this month or by the start of March. This would give credence to the statement made by Achuthanandan that sex predators would be handcuffed and paraded through the roads.
Secondly Achuthanandan with a master stroke signed the Smart City deal which was a bottle neck to the LDF government for the past few years. The LDF could portray this as a significant step taken by the front in the economic development of Kerala which would probably make Achuthanandan a darling among the youths also in addition to the middle class and women fold who consider him as their savior.
With the UDF and the Congress Party loosing steam much before the election trumpeting has begun, the LDF led by the Octogenarian leader VS Achuthanandan seems to slowly and steadily getting on to the winning track.
While the road ahead for Achuthanandan and his team is not full of roses but by pricks, if the LDF plays the card close to its chest and get the wrong doers the maximum possible jail term, then the volume of crimes being committed in the state would come down much to the dismay and disbelief to the LDF.