Testing time for Pinarayi govt in Kerala

By GS Radhakrishna

Sep 8, 2020

Thiruvananthapuram: First the Kerala floods and then the Sabarimala incident.Now the gold scam.The controversial tenure of the LDF government led by 73-year-old CPM strong man Pinarayi Vijayan is all set to roll to a filmi finish.

Ahead of Parliament winter session and election year of 2020, the superman of Kerala appeared to have mellowed. Instead of routine anti-BJP approach with CAA, NPC, and NEP, he has urged state MPs to raise people friendly issues like revival of economic sectors, financial grants etc.

On Monday (September 7), he addressed an online meeting with State MPs on issues ahead of parliament session and focus was on more grants to Kerala for revival of various sectors in aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic .

The Pinrayi regime, which came to be better known for its direct head on collision with the RSS and BJP’s southern expansion drive in North Kerala districts, is now treading a soft approach .

No doubt, the BJP has put up an all out campaign against his government  in the aftermath of the gold scam which BJP protagonists have tagged it as a terrorist funding drive

The gold scam and the alleged nexus between a CMO official and former UAE Consulate employees Sarith and Swapna Suresh have kicked up a political storm targeting Vijayan.

Ironically the gains of Pinarayi’s Covid-19 management strategies and popularity as a tough campaigner against corruption, both nationally and internationall,y have now drowned in the shadow of gold Scam.

All along since 2016 when LDF assumed power in Kerala, Pinarayi’s tough approach towards the Opposition Congress and Malayalam media had spiced and scorched up the Kerala political theatre . In spite of his rigid approach towards BJP and RSS, the CPM leader had failed to garner support within the LDF and CPM itself as internal rumblings have reached crescendo in last few months.

In the last 3 months of the COVID-19 environment, the daily bulletins of Vijayan had earned him a huge following not only in Kerala and the country but also world wide. His daily bulletins were copied by other BJP CMs as well. The bulletins were popular not for just statistics but for the friendly advisory to men to take up domestic chores and information on availability of provisions in the market .

The IANS-C voter survey, had ranked Vijayan as the third best performing CM in its national survey of 2020. The campaigns of Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala who has fired several salvos against the CPM leader has failed to click.

In the last 4 years, the Chief Minister has spared no one – be it a Christian bishop, one of state’s most decorated editors, bureaucrats, leading opposition politicians, his own senior party colleague VS Achuthanandan and last but not the least, the Malayalam media.Though many media were full of praise for him, they could not adjust with his policies as CM.

Right in footsteps of  his Telangana counterpart KCR,  Vijayan kept media at arms’ length. KCR had said he would trample media 10 kms down the earth. Pinarayi’s  snub to media ‘Kadakku Purathu’ ( Get out) during a session on BJP-RSS affairs in the State is very famous.

In the 140-member Assembly, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has 91 members, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) 45 and the BJP has one member.The state goes for Assembly elections in April- May 2021.

In August last week, the LDF govt also faced a no-confidence motion in the last Assembly session ( One day session in August) on gold scam and other issues.

In the coming months, the political theatre of Kerala will be witnessing a slugging match in which the major players will be  Pinarayi Vijayan, Oommen Chandy, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Ramesh Chennithala and the BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai .

Although Pinarayi had a spotless tenure as Chief Minister till now, the gold scam of July has given a handle to the Modi government to unleash central agencies like NIA And ED etc to blacken the only CPM government in the country.