Kochi: Asserting that Congress-led UDF will return to power in 2016, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has sought to play down the wide perception that he might face challenges from “alternative power centres” in the Congress for his bid to become Chief Minister again.
“Who is going to be the leader (of Congress Legislative Party) is immaterial. What is important is to win the elections. After the elections the party will decide who should be the leader,” Chandy said when asked about whether he is facing any challenge from the alternative power centres.
“One thing I am certain, we are going to win the elections despite all the adverse propaganda against the UDF coalition and its government,” he told PTI in an interview.
The senior Congress leader's remark is significant in the wake of the general perception in the state that Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has emerged as an alternative power centre in the government, who could pose a challenge to the Chief Minister's supremacy.
Asked if he was in full command of the government, Chandy said, “We are a single and united team working towards common goals of development of the state and welfare of the people.”
“This is totally baseless. Has any discussion in the cabinet on any important decisions been leaked out? What was the situation when LDF was in power?,” the CM shot back when asked whether his authority is being challenged in the wake of crisis in government due to allegations against some senior ministers in the bar bribery case.
In the KPCC executive meeting yesterday, both Chennithala and KPCC Chief V M Sudheeran had expressed displeasure over the functioning of the government and asked the Chief Minister to take “urgent corrective measures” that could help UDF fight the next assembly polls more confidently.
“Congress being a democratic party, there have always been different views over important issues. I don't want to pretend that the situation is different now. Our approach is that all the issues are debated within the party and reach consensus. This happens now also.
“I do not want to hoodwink others, saying that there are no issues. I am certain that all the issues will be settled, keeping in mind the unity of the coalition and effective delivery of administration in the state,” he said.
Chandy also accused a section of the media of “trying to create an impression” that the government was pulling in different directions.
Asked if he thought that there is a need for “better management” of media to put an end to the “adverse campaign” against his government, a visibly agitated Chief Minister asked, “What do you mean by managing the media”?
“There is no question of managing the media.. instead we will directly go to the people and tell them what we have done since we came to power in 2011,” Chandy said and attacked a section of the media for “wrongly interpreting” his statements and actions on various developmental and welfare measures.
Critics of the government seem to have forgotten the fact that UDF lifted 12 out of 20 seats in a stiffly fought election last year, the Chief Minister said.
“This clearly shows that the people have still faith in the UDF,” he said.
Hitting out at the CPI (M)-led LDF, which has launched a virulent campaign targeting him on many issues, including the solar scam and bar bribery case, Chandy alleged that the opposition was trying to “block” Kerala's infrastructure development projects and pro-poor welfare measures.
Chandy claimed that during his four year rule he could put in track all dream projects of the state including Kochi Metro, Smart City, Kannur airport, Vizhinjnam port and Kollam-Kottappuram waterways.