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Year 2017: Kerala faced political Ockhi too

Year 2017: Kerala faced political Ockhi too

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 2 (UNI) The CPI (M)-led Left Font Government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan, which completed one-and-half-year in office, witnessed the resignation of three important ministers during the period.

The Council of Ministers had a total of 19 ministers at the time of swearing in compared to 21 ministers in the previous government.

Industries Minister EP Jayarajan of CPI (M) resigned on the charges of nepotism in October 2016. Transport Minister AK Saseendran of NCP resigned 0n March 2017 after a sting operation revealed him seeking sexual favours from a woman.

Another minister Thomas Chandy of NCP, who replaced AK Saseendran, was forced to resign in November 2107 following allegation that he had encroached on water bodies and public land and converted paddy fields for a private hotel project.

In the first reshuffle, the LDF Government delegated MM Mani, MLA from Udumbanchola, Idukki district as a new member to the Cabinet in November 2016.

Since CPI (M) came to power in May 2016, the state also witnessed continuous violence and political murders. More than 15 RSS/BJP workers were murdered during the period.

About 11 CPI (M) men were also murdered in this period. Hundreds of party workers of Congress, CPM, BJP and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) suffered serious injuries.

In protest against the political murders, the BJP staged a month-long state-wide campaign in which several Chief Ministers, Union Ministers participated. As part of getting national attention towards the politics of murder, BJP national president Amit Shah walked through the streets of Chief Minister’s home district Kannur where many died in the confrontation.

The BJP state office was also attacked two times, bombs being hurled during night time. In an unprecedented move, Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam had summoned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the law and order.

Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), and BJP-led NDA alleged that the law and order was deteriorating in the State under the CPI (M) rule.

Though the Chief Minister convened all-party meetings to bring peace, violence continued in several parts of the state.

In connection with involvement of party cadres in corruption, the CPI (M) also came under severe criticism following the party’s stand for supporting land grabbers in Munnar, Alappuzha, Wayanad and other districts.

In the case of BJP, the medical college scam tarnished the image of the party. The issue was even raised in Parliament by the Opposition Congress. It was alleged that bribe of Rs 17-crore was given to local BJP leaders for providing new batches of medical courses.

Following the allegation, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also came under severe criticism for not taking timely action against those who were involved in the scam.

In the case of Congress party, it suffered a shock after the government decided to place the Sivarajan Commission's Solar Report before a special session of State Assembly.

The report alleged that former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his office went out of their way to assist solar scam accused Saritha S Nair and her company Team Solar in cheating their customers.

The report found wrongdoing on the part of many Congress leaders including former Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, former Tourism Minister AP Anil Kumar, former Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Hibi Eden MLA, former Union Minister KC Venugopal, MP, Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani, MP, former Kerala Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed and several other UDF leaders.

Solar case accused Saritha Nair alleged that she was misused by the Congress leaders. Later, considering ‘sexual pleasure’ as ‘bribe,’ the government decided to file cases against those involved in the Solar Case.

To divert public attention from Solar Scam, the Congress party decided to stage a campaign, Padayorukkam, led by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, alleging malgovernance of the CPM in Kerala and the BJP at the Centre.

However, the conclusion of the campaign was postponed following the Ockhi Cyclone which hit Kerala coast on November 30. More than 70 fishermen died in the disaster. Hundreds of fishermen have not returned to their homes even during the Christmas. Search and rescue operations are still underway to trace the missing fishermen.

Prime Minister Narednra Modi and other Union Ministers visited Kerala and met fisherfolk at various coastal areas. The Centre offered full support for the rehabilitation of the Cyclone victims.

However, the fishermen communities felt that the State failed to act immediately during the initial hours of crisis leading to tragic death of many people. In protest against the State Government's failure, local people blocked the vehicle of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his visit to Vizhinjam coastal area. Later, he left the place in another vehicle leaving his official car.

In view of huge loss to human lives and properties due to Cyclone Ockhi, the State Government decided to do away with Christmas and New Year celebrations along the Kovalam and other coastal regions.

As a gesture to reiterate the government's support to the people in this time of tragedy, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran offered tributes to those who lost their lives in the calamity by lighting 1000 earthen lamps and 1000 candles along the coast.

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