CPM meet hits state administration in Kerala

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on August 9, 2010

Eleven of the 12 Marxist Ministers in Kerala’s 19-member LDF Cabinet are spending time discussing the issue of the CPI(M)’s survival at an extended central committee meeting in Vijayawada while the State is going through one of its worst-ever political, economic and law-and-order situations. To top it all, the Chief Minister is on a long leave, undergoing monsoon rejuvenation therapy.

According to top officials in the State Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, the State administration is going through a “funny situation” where governance is being carried out over cellphones and through messengers from Cliff House, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan’s official residence, and the CPI(M) conference venue in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

“It is a funny situation. Secretaries contact the Ministers in Vijayawada on urgent matters and often the reply they get is that they are in serious discussions,” said an additional secretary. “The meet in Vijayawada for which the Ministers had left on Friday and even earlier would end only on August 10. Still, it will take more than another week for the administration to be back on the track because the Chief Minister will not be available till August 18,” he said.

A similar situation had occurred in 2008 when all the CPI(M) Ministers camped in Coimbatore from March 29 to April 3 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu for the 19th congress of the party. But State administration had not been hit as seriously as now because the Ministers could meet on any urgent matters as the Chief Minister too was there.

Critics say that the Marxist Ministers have chosen to treat affairs of the party as more crucial than those of the State just when Kerala is facing unprecedented price rise, crisis in the civic polls scene, worsening law and order situation, escalating terror threats, encroachment of Adivasis lands, huge financial losses in the lotteries front, etc.

Leaders of the Opposition parties allege that the CPI(M) has never cared about the State or its people with the same passion as it has for party affairs. “The Marxist Ministers have never felt any qualms in leaving the State at any stage for regular meetings of the Politbureau and central committee. For them, power is just a means to furthering their political interests,” said a senior Congress leader.

It should be noted that the Ministers who have left the State for the party conference are those looking after the departments whose functions are the most significant at this point of time. Those who are participating in the meet include Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan whose police are struggling to counter the escalating Islamist terror threat.

The Ministers presently engaged in heated ideological conversations also include Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac, whose presence in the State is of utmost necessity as prices are rising and the Civil Supplies Department needs his day-today advises and sanctions, especially as the people are preparing for the Onam festival.

Local Administrations Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty also is in Vijayawada just when the local bodies elections to be held in September are facing a crisis due to the discrepancies in the delimitation of wards. An official in the State Election Commission complained that the panel was finding it extremely difficult to get the Government’s opinions as and when needed due to the Minister’s absence.

Education Minister MA Baby is facing an uphill task in the State in the context of last week’s High Court verdict canceling the entrance examinations held by the managements of eleven self-financing medical colleges. “The Minister told us that a solution to the problem could be found through discussions, but after that we have not seen him,” said an office-bearer of the private medical college managements association.

The other Ministers who have temporarily orphaned their departments due to organizational commitments are PK Sreemathi (Health), M Vijayakumar (Law, Public Works), PK Gurudasan (Employment Affairs), G Sudhakaran (Cooperation), AK Balan (Power), S Sarma (Registrations) and Elamaram Kareem (Industries). Even the State Assembly Speaker, K Radhakrishnan is taking part in the central committee meeting.

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