Kochi: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remained almost silent on his ambitious K-Rail SilverLine project during his first campaign rally in Thrikkakara assembly constituency where a partial vote is scheduled for May 31.
However, by the end of his speech, it looked like he had saved the topic for a catchy punch. “K-Rail will come. There is no doubt about it,” Vijayan said, adding that he did not want to go into details.
The Chief Minister inaugurated the electoral convention of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Palarivattom, attended by a host of leaders of the front in power.
Seeking to vote for the CPM candidate, Dr Jo Joseph, Vijayan said the constituency is ready to respond in the way Kerala wants. Vijayan attempted to attach enormous political significance to the partial poll, placing it in the context of the Left Front’s oft-repeated claims about the emergence of an alternative to the alleged community-charged regime at the Centre.
Speaking at length about attempts to scuttle the country’s secular ethos, Vijayan said the Congress party has taken a compromising stance on communalism.
“An intransigent position is necessary against communitarianism. The Congress, which inherited the national movement, often adopts a compromising position on these issues. He is unable to meet the expectations of the people in terms of communitarianism (of struggle)”, declared the veteran of the CPM.
In Thrikkakara, Joseph of CPM confronts Uma Thomas of Congress. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Uma’s husband and congress leader PT Thomas.
The CPM’s surprise choice of Joseph, a well-known cardiologist as a candidate, had raised several eyebrows and sparked a political debate with opposition parties alleging he was a Church candidate. The opposition, the Congress-led United Democratic Front, has since downplayed the allegation, fearing it could backfire.
Vijayan played a deft shot in his speech as he raked in the charge, only to score a political point. “The opposition says that Jo Joseph is a representative of the Sabha (Church). I also say that he is a representative of the Sabha. But the question is which Sabha? The answer is Niyamasabha (assembly). He is going to be a member of the Niyamasabha of Kerala,” Vijayan said amid thunderous applause from his comrades.
He said Thrikkakara’s indirect ballot was an opportunity to raise the LDF’s tally in the assembly to one hundred. The ruling front now holds 99 of the assembly’s 140 seats.
KV Thomas receives an enthusiastic welcome
The LDF campaign rally also proved to be Congress leader KV Thomas’ practical entry into the left wing. Thomas, who faced disciplinary action for attending a CPM event challenging a congressional diktat, came to the meeting as Vijayan was halfway through his speech. No wonder, since Thomas announced on Thursday that he would campaign for the CPM candidate.
LDF host EP Jayarajan honored the former Union minister with a shawl.
Vijayan said Thomas came to meet the LDF because he stood for the development of the state.
Later, addressing the gathering, Thomas praised Vijayan just as he did when he attended the controversial seminar on the sidelines of the CPM party congress in Kannur last month. He also criticized Congress’s decision to align Uma Thomas with Thrikkakara saying it was against PT Thomas’ tough stance against dynasty politics.
Meanwhile, Vijayan listed his previous government’s achievements in agriculture, industries and business and mentioned his favorite projects like the Life Mission housing project while accusing the opposition UDF of opposing to all the development projects initiated by the leftist regime.
He repeated Industry Minister P Rajeev’s recent allegation that UDF MPs did not raise their voices in Parliament for the speedy completion of the second phase of the Kochi Metro.
“The LDF government has tried to extend the metro, but the Center does not allow its rapid completion. The UDF deputies could not even raise their voices against the Centre’s position. Why can’t they? Isn’t that a common need of the state. However, they do not hesitate to raise their voices against the development of the state. They could even create a row and lead to clashes with the police on the premises of Parliament,” he said. Vijayan was referring to a clash between UDF MPs and security personnel on the premises of Parliament when the former staged a protest against the SilverLine project. Even then, the CM did not mention the semi-high-speed train project. But in the end he broached the subject, reiterating the DFL’s sounding board of Thrikkara becoming a center of development while Kakkanad in the constituency is meant to become a connecting point between Kochi Metro, SilverLine and Water. Metro. “To achieve these development goals, we need Jo Joseph with us,” he said.