As the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is poised to block the Chief Minister during the Mass Contact Programme, scheduled to be held here on Friday, it is likely to turn into a showdown between the LDF and the UDF.
The possible stand off between the Chief Minister and the LDF has assumed a new dimension with Congress spokesman Rajmohan Unnithan’s warning that any attempt to block the Chief Minister during the programme would result in the repeat of ‘’Koothuparambu’’, hinting that the protesters would face severe police action.
Further, with Lok Sabha elections nearing, both the government and the Opposition want to gain maximum advantage by resorting to public posturing. However, notwithstanding the prestige involved, both the government and the Opposition will tend to look beyond the issue as both of them want to play it safe, at least, for the time being.
The LDF, which has a clear edge over the government after its successful campaign in ‘exposing’ the government for its alleged foul play in the Solar scam, wants to retain that edge.
At the same time, it also wants to ensure that nothing which provokes the popular sentiment against the Front happens in the course of the agitation. Such a cautious approach is apparent in the reply of LDF convener Vaikom Viswan, when he was asked to comment on CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s statement that they would be blocking only the Chief Minister and not the public who arrive for attending the Mass Contact Programme.
“We have already made it clear that we will block the Chief Minister from attending public functions. There is no change in our stance against the Chief Minister. But we have no plans to disturb the function or attack the people who arrive for the programme,’’ Viswan told ‘Express.’
Asked whether it was a climbdown from its rather aggressive posture, party politburo member M A Baby told this paper that in democracy, it was important for the rulers to take note of the popular sentiments. “Oommen Chandy has been taking a dubious stand on the Solar issue. See what his own party leaders, including KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, has to tell about the Chief Minister’s role,’’ he said. He, however, said that they would be blocking only the Chief Minister and not the people.
Referring to the issue, CPI state secretary Pannian Ravindran told ‘Express’ that it was the LDF decision to block the Chief Minister from attending public functions. “We have no plans to sneak into the venue of the function to disturb it or attack the people. But, we will continue to block the Chief Minister as he has been so arrogant and has gone back on his promise to conduct judicial probe by a sitting judge of the High Court. Now it seems that he wants to cheat the Opposition and the people,’’ the CPI leader said.
Pannian said that the Front would decide the future course and nature of agitation in the LDF meeting scheduled here for October 21.