With Chief Minister Oommen Chandy determined to take forward his mass contact programme as per schedule beginning from Friday and the Opposition LDF keen to score politically by re-launching the solar scam stir vigorously with blockades and black flag demonstrations, the political scenario in the state is bound to pass through a surcharged atmosphere.
It will also set the turf for a take-off for both fronts into the Lok Sabha poll campaign, especially in the backdrop of the abrupt withdrawal of the LDF siege laid to the Secretariat recently.
The government has already drawn mileage with an orchestrated campaign that the proposed LDF stir is being drawn up only for the sake of an agitation. And the LDF has made a climbdown from its earlier position, with prominent leaders Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (CPM) and Pannyan Raveendran (CPI) making it clear on Wednesday that their protest will be directed towards the Chief Minister only. The CPI is reportedly dead against the pattern of the LDF stir pursued on the solar issue.
In the run-up to the commencement of the mass contact programme, a threatening posture of Congress spokesman Rajmohan Unnithan that ‘Koothuparambu’ will be repeated if at all the programme is obstructed triggered a war of words between the LDF and UDF the other day.
Though the popularity which the first edition of the programme had handed out may not be there this time, the bickerings in the leading partner Congress and other coalition partners in the UDF may come down to some extent is a likelihood, if the schedule is completed.
The Congress calculates that the LDF will not be able to pursue a vigorous course of agitation since there could be a backlash and adverse public opinion from commoners and the poor, who are mainly the beneficiaries of mass contact programme. “It is the poor who are coming to the programme. Like the LDF siege,it will have to be withdrawn abruptly,” according to Excise-Fisheries Minister K Babu. “People will come forward to counter the Left stir, which is a denial of solace to the sidelined sections in the society,” said Babu. The course of the LDF stir is still undecided, as leaders are wary of the reaction from the general public, even when it is bound to provide steam for the CPM cadre for some time. The Mass Contact Programme is slated from October 18 to December 9 in 14 districts in the state, with spacing of days in between. In the Central stadium here, 14,957 applications have been cleared for the consideration of the Chief Minister. The highest number of applications (8,430) is for financial assistance from BPL cards. 1,318 applicants are for house sites and there are 1,420 applications for financial assistance. Across the state, 1,28,535 applications have been listed for the programme in various districts.
In addition to this, new applications will be considered during 1-2 pm and after 5 pm on the scheduled days of the programme at various centres.