Cong impatience over Muslim League’s ‘arrogance’

published on April 2, 2012

Impatience is spreading among the top and middle level leaders of Kerala’s Congress party heading the ruling UDF over the alleged arrogance being shown by the Muslim League, second largest party in the coalition, inside the front and its tendency to declare policy-related matters affecting the front and the Government arbitrarily and unilaterally.

Congress leaders say that the Muslim League has been showing this tendency right from the day the UDF came into power after the Assembly elections last year and certain leaders of that party have been acting as “super chief ministers”. “Those responsible (in the Congress) for the situation should put an end to this,” said a senior Congress leader from Thrissur.

Senior Congress MLAs and even some Ministers of that party are complaining that the Muslim League Ministers have often been announcing policy decisions with regard to their departments without holding discussions in the UDF and without talking to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Also, that party is practicing pressure tactics to achieve political goals, they say.

“In a sense, the Chief Minister is responsible for the situation,” said the Thrissur-based Congress leader. “He has been going out of his way to protect the Muslim League and its leaders, particularly (Industries Minister) PK Kunhalikutty for a long time now. This has caused embarrassments for the Congress and the UDF several times,” he said.

The causes for the sudden increase in the unhappiness of Congress leaders towards the Muslim League are that party’s unilateral declaration that its fifth Minister would be sworn in soon even when the Congress has not given the primary nod and its Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb’s announcement on scrapping of Vocational Higher Secondary Course.

State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala, who has never been as enthusiastic about protecting the Muslim League as Chandy has been, was quick to come out against Abdu Rabb’s announcement saying that the UDF had never thought about such a step and that he was unaware of the circumstances in which the Minister had made the announcement.

Abdu Rabb’s announcement created confusion among VHSC teachers and employees of the directorate as he had not explained how he was planning to do away with the course. It also led to protests from the teachers who staged a temporary boycott of evaluation of answer papers of the VHSC examinations.

Several of the actions of the Muslim League had brought shame to the UDF as in the case of the induction of a “textile trader” into the Cochin University Syndicate. Also, appointments in the planning councils under the Local Administration Department and key decisions in the Public Works Department, both ruled by League Ministers, are made without the UDF’s knowledge.

However, what has enraged the Congress leaders most is the frequent assertion by Muslim League leaders that the party’s firth Minister would be sworn in along with Anoop Jacob of the Kerala Congress (Jacob) even when the UDF leadership has categorically stated that a decision would be taken on this only after discussions with the Congress high command.

A leader of Ramesh Chennithala’s “Extended I group” in the Congress said, “Chandy is now paying the price for depending on the Muslim League for his personal gains even at the expense of Congress unity. Don’t you remember how Chandy had gone out of his way to protect Kunhalikutty when the ice cream parlour sex scandal was raging last year?” he asked.

In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the Muslim League has 20 members while the total strength of the UDF is just 72. The Congress, which has 38 members, has ten Ministers while the League already has four Ministers.

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