Despite controversies and allegations which surrounded Emerging Kerala 2012, the three-day summit which concluded here on Friday has given a message clearly political, over and above its possible impact on the state’s economy and development front.
The political message is bound to navigate UDF and Congress politics in the days ahead, as there cannot be a turning back on the issue of positioning the state on the right track, with the Opposition continuing its onslaught against ‘selling off’ of the state. It is also bound to have a lasting impact on the profile of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, both as a politician and as an administrator, provided there is follow-up and determination, leading to tangible results. Though there were only a few big names of the industry and business were present at the event, the huge participation of prospective Keralite entrepreneurs as well as experts throughout various sessions has underscored the fact that the expectations of the state are quite high.
“Kerala has earned a conducive mindset by now to look towards the future,” observed Rural Development Minister K C Joseph. “The political significance of the event is very high. In fact, the controversies which erupted proved to be a blessing in disguise,’’ felt Joseph. “However, controversies could have been minimised to a larger extent, had there been a ministerial sub-committee to go into various proposals posted on the official website,’’ he admitted.
“There is no doubt that the expectations arising out of the meet for the participants and Kerala society are really high. Now there should be matching results,” felt KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. “We’ll work towards achieving them,” said Chennithala. The development of the state could be charted only taking into consideration its unique character, he said. Incidentally, if the style of functioning of Oommen Chandy, amid allegations of playing into the hands of Indian Union Muslim League and Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty on the conduct of the summit had drawn flak from even the Congress camp, it has given way to either hope or guarded response at the end of the conclave.
It may be recalled that several of the ministers were quite agitated over projects related to their portfolios finding place in the proposals without their knowledge or approval, as KSIDC was having a free run.
“There is a growing feeling that something positive should happen in the state, especially in the maritime and tourism sectors. The mindset of the people, with greater exposure to the outside world as never before, is a contributing factor. It has come to stay despite controversies magnifying the whole event,” said Varkey Mathew, who presented a project on Cellulose Nanofibre.
While there was a general feeling that the event might end up as another show, signs of skepticism giving way to a feel-good ambience have also emerged out of the meet, given the prominence professed for start-up ventures and the role of new age youth in future Kerala.