The CPI(M) in Kerala, which has been lying low for a while as it is fighting allegations of murder and party infighting has got a shot in the arm in the light of the recent controversy relating to Kudumbashree—community based, state poverty eradication mission of government of Kerala
The Kerala government’s decision to allot Rs 14.36 crore under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for Janasree Sustainable Development Mission (JSDM), an NGO with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman M M Hassan as chairman has stirred the hornet’s nest.
CPI(M) is alleging that the government is trying to dismantle Kudumbashree, government’s own agency by diverting the fund meant for it to promote JSDM.
Taking a break from their infighting and festering factional feud, the CPI(M) leadership is now able to rejuvenate its cadres, especially the party’s women’s wing, to come under the platform of Kudumbashree Protection Forum. In an extraordinary feat, over 1500 women are mobilised every day to stage an indefinite sit-in in front of the Secretariat here from October 2, in an attempt to pressurise the government to roll back its decision to favour Janasree allegedly at the cost of Kudumbashree. It was the CPI(M) mouthpiece Deshabhimani which came out with the report that JSDM is a private property of its chairman M M Hassan, who is also the KPCC spokesman. When the controversy steamed, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy challenged the CPI(M) to prove the charges. At this stage, former finance minister and CPI(M) leader Thomas Isaac came out with more documents to expose Hassan.
It was under Thomas Isaac’s tenure as Finance minister in the LDF government that Kudumbashree made giant leaps. The CPI(M) also had its own plans. It wanted to use the Kudumbashree platform for its own gain. Isaac had effectively engaged the Kudumbashree workers’ self-help groups to implement various poverty alleviation programmes in his constituency, Mararikulam.
CPI(M) could not retain its hold on Kudumbashree as they had to face disgraceful defeats in the local body elections held in 2010 and in the Assembly elections in 2011. UDF government’s slew of popular measures added to CPI(M)’s apprehension of further drifting away of their sway over the women folk. Moreover, they are afraid of Jansree Mission, a feeder organisation of Congress making further inroads into their strong holds.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s mass contact programmes have also attracted large number of women folk. In view of the rising popularity of the programmes CPI(M) wanted to check the spread of Janasree.
This controversy has given CPI(M) a chance to divert attention from the factional feud plaguing the party at Mundoor in the Palakakd district.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard Finance minister K M Mani said that he had not verified whether there was any irregularity or not in the grant of central funds to Janasree. “NGOs have the right to claim funds for poverty alleviation, through specific project proposals. What matters is that the basic principles are not violated.” he said.
Isaac said that if the government wanted to change policies, it should have initiated through transparent procedures. “Clear guidelines have been laid down by the Supreme Court in this regard,” he pointed out.