THIRUVANANTHAPURAM With no letup in the bar bribe scam, Vigilance cases against top bureaucrats in the state are emerging as a turning point for the three-and-a-half year-old Oommen Chandy Government. Even as a message is there outwardly that a cleansing process is on as a late exercise against alleged corruption and various deals,the fact remains that coalition partners Kerala Congress(M),followed by IUML, are directly affected by the developments and a political fallout cannot be dismissed altogether.
Eyebrows are being raised in political camps whether the Congress is trying to make the most out of a political opportunity to downsize its coalition partners while leaving the LDF to its own fate of grappling with the CPM-CPI rift. But the general feeling apart, all in the UDF are trying to put up a brave front.
With a razor-thin majority and the national political scenario posing many issues, the recent developments definitely add to an uneasy course ahead for the government. The fallout could be politically dangerous for the UDF combine as well going by a legacy of issues much smaller than the present one creating cracks in the coalition.
If the bar bribe case was a natural progression of the ire of hoteliers and other vested groups against Finance Minister K M Mani and a few others in his ring for allegedly cheating them, there is a strong feeling within the regional outfit that a section in the Congress and some in their own fold had been instrumental in masterminding an onslaught against Mani, The case is different in the case of bureaucrats put on the chopping block.
While the scalp of IPS officer Rahul R Nair was taken smoothly in a bribery case, closing in on marked IAS man T O Sooraj ,who has allegedly amassed ill-gotten wealth through many a corrupt deal, has sent warning signals. Sooraj is known to be very close to a couple of IUML ministers.
The Vigilance Department, under Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, is playing a crucial role in all the current moves, backed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The Cabinet was informed through the Chief Secretary about the Vigilance raid on the residences and other holdings of Sooraj on Wednesday. ‘’I was informed about the raid during the Cabinet meet. I communicated it immediately to the Chief Minister. IUML ministers were also informed,’’ said Ramesh Chennithala. There is no dispute or ill-feeling with any coalition partners over the Vigilance drive against corrupt officials .