Debate on development, corruption hots up as Kerala bypoll campaign enters 2nd phase
LDF to organise ‘Vikasana sandesa sadass’ | Oppn levels 6 corruption charges against govt
KOTTAYAM: As political campaigning for the Puthuppally by-election entered the second phase, a debate on ‘development vs corruption’ is taking centre-stage in a highly charged contest in the constituency.
While the LDF decided to move ahead focussing on lack of development in the constituency, the UDF has countered the move by raising six corruption allegations against the LDF government and targeting whistleblowers.
After raising the allegation that Puthuppally lagged in development in the first stage of its campaign, the LDF would organise ‘Vikasana sandesa sadass’ (conference for development message) across the constituency from Sunday. According to Minister V N Vasavan, the chief election coordinator of LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas, the first such meeting will be held at Puthuppally on Sunday. “CPM central committee member T M Thomas Isaac will lead a ‘development rally’ to be held in Puthuppally, which will be followed by a meeting on Sunday,” he said.
Development conferences will be organised in 21 centres in all eight grama panchayats in the constituency till August 26, in which almost all ministers will participate.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will join the campaign on August 24, 30 and September 1. The LDF will also organise a ‘women parliament’ in Pampady on Tuesday. The Left expects the participation of around 10,000 women in the meeting to be attended by Subhashini Ali, P K Sreemathi, K K Shylaja, minister J Chinchurani and others.
Scorning LDF’s call for discussion on development, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said it was a farce that the government which could not even release funds for the construction of a drainage canal is challenging us to discuss development. “Presently, the treasury cannot clear a cheque exceeding Rs 5 lakh,” he added.
In an attempt to divert focus from development, Satheesan reiterated the corruption allegations against the LDF government and challenged the chief minister for a debate. “The Opposition has levelled six major corruption allegations against the government, including the ‘pay-out’ allegation involving the CM’s daughter. The CAG’s investigation has found that a consortium, including SRIT, violated all the rules and paid crores of rupees as interest-free mobilisation advances. The CAG has also found that the government incurred a loss of Rs 36 crore. Sivasankar, who was the principal secretary to the CM intervened and gave the mobilisation advance illegally. And the CM’s office implies the Chief Minister,” Satheesan said.
Meanwhile, countering Satheesan’s allegations, Vasavan said the UDF was evading the challenge for a debate on discussion by raising baseless allegations.