By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Murphy’s law seems to be in operation against the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). The Front has suffered two setbacks within the space of three days. The first controversy relates to an allegedly derogatory remark made by LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan against United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate in Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, Ramya Haridas.
The sexist comment has drawn heavy flak from all quarters pushing the LDF into a defensive mode. The LDF convener made the controversial remark while addressing a convention of the LDF candidate at Ponnani in Malappuram district.
The woman candidate of Alathur constituency had called on Indian Union Muslim League(IUML) leader P. K. Kunhalikutty recently. “I do not know what will happen to her now.” Incidentally, Kunhalikutty was enmeshed in the infamous icecream parlour sex scandal case. It was also in criticism of the regular visits to Muslim League leaders by Congress candidates.
The aggrieved Ramya promptly lodged a complaint with Alathur DSP against Vijayaraghavan. Incidentally, Vijayaraghavan had made an offensive comment against Ramya at a meeting in Kozhikode last week as well .
The issue has given a big handle to the UDF leaders who have promptly unleashed strong criticism against Vijayaraghavan. The sordid episode also exposes the double standards of CPI(M) leaders on women’s welfare, they contend.
A worried CPI(M) leadership has swiftly initiated damage control action. A meeting of the CPI(M) State Secretariat was critical of Vijayaraghavan. He should have exercised restraint in his comments, especially those against women. That was the nub of criticism by the Secretariat members. The insulting comment has given the UDF and the BJP a potent campaign theme against the LDF, feel LDF leaders including veteran VS Achuthanandan who frowned upon the Vijayaraghavan remark.
As if this was not enough, then came the second jolt to the LDF in the form of a court-appointed amicus curiae report on the floods which devastated the State in August last year. The report says that, while the extremely heavy rainfall may have caused the floods, the government’s failure to use the 79 dams in the state for flood control worsened the situation.
The report has suggested a probe by an expert team headed by a retired judge of either the High Court or Supreme Court.
Not surprisingly, the opposition parties have demanded the resignation of the Pinarayi Vijayan Government. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee(KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran has said that the State Government hasa no moral right to continue in office in view of the amicus curiae’s report. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala commented that the Chief Minister was responsible for the 483 flood-related deaths. The opposition had said it was a man-made disaster. “The amicus curiae’s report proves that we were right,” claimed Ramesh. BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai has demanded that a case of genocide should be filed against the Chief Minister.
Needless to say, the twin setback has rattled the LDF. It remains to be seen whether the report and the LDF convener’s derogatory remark would have an adverse impact on the LDF’s poll prospects. With a jubilant opposition aiming at the ruling party’s jugular, the LDF leaders would find it hard to explain the critical comments of the amicus curiae and the revulsion caused by Vijayaraghavan’s insulting comment.
No doubt, troubled times are ahead for the LDF leaders who have otherwise forged ahead in the campaigning arena. (IPA Service)