Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chandy not in Rahul's good books: Balakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Wednesday said things would be tough for opposition Congress leader Oommen Chandy as it was obvious that he was not in the good books of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi. "Our party has no problems about who the leader is, instead all the confusion and problems are there in the Congress party. (Rahul) Gandhi does not favour Chandy, instead Ramesh Chennithala has got his blessings," Balakrishnan told reporters here.

"This is evident from the number of candidates owing allegiance to Chennithala who have been given Congress tickets to contest the forthcoming assembly polls," said Balakrishnan said. He went on to add that in the recent history of the Congress in Kerala, never have the state party chief and the leader of opposition together contested the assembly polls.

Balakrishnan said KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, who had the 'backing' of Rahul Gandhi, would outsmart Oommen Chandy after the elections. "The fielding of Chennithala in assembly polls clearly shows that the performance of Chandy as the leader of opposition has not been up to the desired mark. And now with Gandhi fully supporting Chennithala, it is amply clear that the going for Chandy is going to get tougher," added Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan said things are favourable for the Left government. "We might have not done well in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and last year's local bodies polls. That is a thing of the past because the Congress-led UPA government has been drowned in several scandals and that is going to work in our favour," he said.

"We are demanding a second term because in the last five years, people have hugely benefitted here and never ever has a Left government ruled for a decade at one stretch. Give us a term more and analyse us in 2016," said Balakrishnan.

The CPM politburo member also said there is no anti-incumbency factor working against the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala ahead of the April 13 assembly elections. He said people would cast their votes against the 'anti-people' policies of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, which was responsible for unprecedented price rise in the country.

While the UPA government was steeped in corruption, top UDF leaders in Kerala were facing several corruption charges, Balakrishnan said. "The internal strife in the Congress, which came to the fore with the announcement of its candidates' list, would intensify in the coming days," he said.

He said former Minister and senior Congress leader K K Ramachandran had already charged that many in his party got seats after paying money. The IUML also had candidates who got accommodated in such 'payment seats," he alleged. "The Election Commission which has a system to check paid news, will now have to look into charges of payment seats also," Balakrishnan said.

Denying reports that there was secret alliance between CPM and BJP, he said the Congress should explain why it did not put up a candidate in Nemom in the capital where senior BJP leader O Rajagopal was contesting. The UDF had left the

seat to its partner Socialist Janata-Democratic, he said.

To a question on the attack on a television channel scribe by CPM workers at Kannur on Monday, he said the incident was isolated and would be examined. "Our party is of the view that journalists should be allowed to work freely," he said. The party had decided that its leaders would not be sent to talk shows being held by mediapersons who were not able to handle the show properly, he added.


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