Thiruvananthapuram | Putting up a brave face, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today rejected criticism that the row in Kerala Congress (M), a coalition partner, had affected the image of the ruling United Democratic Front. The removal of P C George, KC (M) dissident leader, from the post of chief whip was not at all a ‘pitiful surrender’ before anybody.
Accepting the demand of a front partner was only part of a coalition dharma, Chandy told reporters here. I am UDF Chairman and I also have the responsibility to take UDF forward. Many a time I take various measures in my own style. PC George knows it very well. I have not set a new precedent. Party chairman takes a decision on who should be offered various posts, who should continue…., Chandy said.
The Chief Minister said several rounds of discussions were held after KC(M) chairman K M Mani gave him a letter, seeking removal of George from the chief whip’s post. That is not surrender. But I have only followed the general principles of front politics, Chandy said. Asked if there was a ‘loss of face’ for UDF on the George issue, he took a dig at the media saying ‘You ask people who were evacuated from Yemen… Or ask the central government… People from other states who landed in Kochi were also paid Rs 2000 as monetary help to reach their destinations. This government is not going after controversies.
People are watching the performance of the government, which was evident in the good performance of the Congress in the state during the last Parliamentary elections, he said. Making it clear there was no administrative stalemate due to the recent upheaval in UDF, he said, not a single project had lapsed or been delayed and charges of stalemate were baseless. I am confident that people will repose their faith in the UDF in the coming civic and assembly polls’, he said.
Chandy also rejected the allegations of George against Mani and said you should judge the timing of the charges. Even as George shot of a letter to Chandy, raising fresh allegations of corruption against Mani and his MP son Jose K Mani, the CM said he said he was ‘shocked’ to read it. On the purported letter written by solar scam accused Saritha Nair, in which names of three ministers and some MLAs and MPs were allegedly mentioned, he said these developments have surfaced once again after two years and you know its credibility.
There are more important issues happening around which the media should focus on, he said. Asked about the adverse comment of veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan on the recent developments, he shot back saying that people have not forgotten what had happened in the Assembly on March 13 on budget day, apparently referring to the ruckus in the house by the LDF opposition.
On the bar bribery scam, he said, there was no difference of opinion in the government over the process of investigation against Mani and added that government would never interfere in the investigation. In the last five months, not even a single deposition had come out against the Finance Minister. We will not intervene at any stage of investigation, he said.
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