VS trusts LDF partners more than CPM

via VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram - Daily Pioneer published on January 27, 2010

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on Wednesday indicated that he trusted the partners of the ruling LDF more than his own party, the CPI(M), in the matter of discharging his duties as head of the Government. He said that the objections aired by a section of the CPI(M) – with the support of the official State leadership – need not prove to be an obstacle to his plan of launching an anti-encroachment programme in Munnar, Idukki.

“This Government is not constituted by the CPI(M) alone,” he said when asked how he planned to go ahead with the anti-encroachment plan in Munnar when the Idukki district unit of his party was opposing it. “It is a coalition arrangement in which there are four-five parties. All these parties will take a decision and such policy decision of the LDF will be implemented,” he said.

Observers attached immense significance to Achuthanandan’s statement, made while briefing newsmen on the decisions of a Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday. They interpreted the statement as a reflection of the determination of the Chief Minister to go ahead with the anti-land-grabbing programme in Munnar with the support of the CPI if his own party did not endorse it. The CPI had already said that local-level political objections would not hinder the anti-encroachment plans.

Achuthanandan’s first-ever attempt to expel encroachers from grabbed lands in Munnar in 2007 was undermined by the local units of the CPI(M) with the direct and indirect support of the official State leadership, headed by secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. The octogenarian leader’s efforts now were to somehow register some success in this so that he could claim at least one achievement as Chief Minister.

Achuthanandan said that the LDF would meet to decide on the course of action to be followed in the Munnar issue. Front convener Vaikom Viswan later said that a meeting of the LDF would be held on Friday. The meeting would discuss the Munnar issue, he said.

At the same time, the LDF Cabinet on Wednesday reached an understanding that no action to retrieve grabbed lands in Munnar should be initiated before a political consensus was reached at on the issue. The Cabinet asked a sub-committee formed for the purpose to study the situation in Munnar and submit its report.

The members of the Cabinet sub-committee were Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Local Administrations Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty, both belonging to the CPI(M), Revenue Minister KP Rajendran and Forest and Housing Minister Benoy Viswam, both from the CPI. The sub-committee was constituted during the first phase of the Mission Munnar anti-encroachment drive in 2007.

Achuthanandan said the sub-committee would study the issues involved in the Munnar situation and recommend actions considering the instructions of the Kerala High Court, which had last week asked the Government to take immediate measures to save “green Munnar” from becoming “brown Munnar”. “Necessary actions would be taken on the recommendations of the sub-committee,” the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, Idukki district CPI(M) secretary MM Mani, the most vocal opponent of the Government move to retrieve grabbed lands, said in Thodupuzha that no encroachments had taken place in Munnar in the recent times and that there was a conspiracy behind the reports appearing in a section of the Press about this. He said a conspiracy was likely behind the developments that led to the observations of the High Court on Munnar.

Reiterating that any move against the interests of the “ordinary people” in Munnar in the name of anti-encroachment operations would be opposed intensely, he asked the Congress-led UDF to join hands with others to defeat the conspiracy to “destroy Munnar.” The Janakeeya Samrakshana Samithi, an outfit enjoying the support of the CPI(M), observed a day-time hartal in Munnar and adjacent Devikulam in protest against the proposed anti-encroachment plan.

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