The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala is into its fifth year in office with the Chandy-regime launching massive campaigns across the state to highlight its achievements in the last four years and calling on to work jointly to return to power in the Assembly polls next year.
The Opposition as usual blamed the state leadership for failing to take the steps required for the development of the state. While the blame game continues, it is the people who have to carry out the actual analysis. Starting with just a slender majority of two MLAs, the UDF government has managed to complete four years in office despite facing a several controversies during its tenure particularly in the initial stages. Several crisis, many high profile scandals and corruption allegations have tarnished the Chandy government. But despite all the drawbacks and challenges that questioned the existence of the government, Chandy has emerged successful in braving the crisis and staying in power asserting that the UDF government would complete its full term in office. However, the fact that the weak Opposition has favoured the present government to continue in power all these years without much difficulty and not any development agenda and pro-public programs cannot be ignored.
The four years of Oommen Chandy government has been highly controversial. Issues like the ‘Fifth-Minister’ controversy in the Muslim League, the issues related to the portfolio reshuffling of the Congress ministers during the initial stages, the resignation of K B Ganesh Kumar, the lone representative of the Kerala Congress (B) group in the government, the personal staff member of the CM accused of having a role in the controversial Solar scam, the recent bribe allegations in Bar scam and Vigilance enquiry against Finance Minister K.M. Mani and all have failed the Chandy government in the eyes of the people. The party now moves ahead without R Balakrishna Pillai, one of the founder-members of the UDF, and P C George, the Vice Chairman of Kerala Congress (M) and former Chief Whip. Gauri Amma's Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS) and M V Raghavan’s Communist Marxist Party (CMP) are also not a part of the UDF now. At the same time, Chandy has been successful in splitting RSP, the third biggest ally of the LDF, in its favour.
Factionalism that has resurfaced in the Congress is intensifying and the hypes surrounding the change in government are other threats to the present government. Even though the media played up the issues, the controversies didn’t affect the lives of the people much. The people are merely concerned with the transparency and sincerity of the government and the steps taken for public welfare. Corruption allegations have been the trademark of Chandy government. Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister AK Antony had said that the state was completely in the grip of corruption. Neither the CM nor any other Ministers opposed his statement. KPCC President V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala backed it. Every department is corrupted with malpractices, partiality and dereliction of duties. The negligence in tax collection is emptying the public exchequer leading to the borrowing of funds for even regular expenditures. The Vigilance that has to probe corruption has its hands tied leaving the criminals roaming fearlessly. The petrol and the diesel prices have hiked up due to the increased taxes. Despite being a consumer state, the prices of the essential commodities are continuously rising. In spite of the food safety laws existing, adulteration and use of dangerous pesticides are rampant. Illegal liquor is flowing through the state even after the closing down of around 700 bars. Crime-rates, especially violence against women, are increasing. So is the exploitation in the health and education sectors. Amidst the entire crisis, the government is busy highlighting the various developmental projects in the pipeline that cost crores of money.
The Opposition, instead of correcting their mistakes and analyzing their drawbacks, is trying to bring back those who had left the LDF. It is bootless to think that the UDF government would carry out extensive analysis and reviewing of their mistakes. The present government seems to be relying again on a weak opposition for its existence.