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Wednesday, February 13

Travails of a CM

I wonder why I was all too happy when V.S.Achuthanandan was sworn in as Kerala Chief Minister in May 2006.

I may belong to the sparse and forbidden class of citizens who wish to see development in all arenas across the state. But development is a word regularly viewed with suspicion and profligation in Kerala, and investors are potential desperados...

And comrade V.S. Achuthanandan is one soul who was always the commander-in-chief, leading the press and politicos delegation to liquidate such efforts.

VS has led scores of agitations against encroachments, sexual harassment, corruption, social discrimination and inequality while he was the opposition leader; giving the premieres Antony and Oomen Chandy many sleepless nights. He also thwarted efforts of industrialisation by the Congress led Govt, opposing projects such as Expressway, Coco-cola & Pepsi plants, Smart City, KMML Mining project, Private professional colleges, ADB loans et al.

He became a social icon among Kerala middle class and the darling of media, since he would always deliver what they loved: controversies. He was indeed the most powerful Opposition leader Kerala had seen and the whole state celebrated his succession to the throne of Chief Minister.

I was also strangely happy to see this immaculate leader-of-mass rise to power, since he had the potential to liberate Kerala society from many of the teething issues plaguing it, mainly relating to corruption and injustice. I was positive that his stands on industrial & infrastructural development would naturally change once he is the boss.

After all, I thought, how could a Chief Minister oppose development of his own state when he is in charge???

Well, V.S just exhibited how...

He continued his babbling about Dubai Internet City being a private real estate agency and Smart City is not needed in Kerala. The corresponding Communist leader &West Bengal CM, Bhattacharya was the first to take advantage of this let off and invited TECOM to Calcutta. VS was put under pressure and eventually the Smart City is becoming a reality. Ironically, the refurbished agreement became a feather in his cap, as it exhibited how the state had benefited out of the new draft, an appraisal of his stern stands.

Munnar drama seemed to create another sensation and an aura gradually formed around him, being a real common man's leader and saviour. He drew accolades even from Sonia Gandhi when she praised his efficiency.

Sadly, the honeymoon ended all too quickly...

Munnar became a boomerang and ended in a sensational fiasco.
His handling of the officials in the ISRO Ponmudi land issue left much to be desired.
His refusal to accede to the BOT terms of the NHAI effected in Kerala being left out from the Highway Development plan. As a result Keralites were forced to travel on the worst ever road surfaces(if they ever existed) in history.
On the other hand railway development is at a standstill.
His heroics in the sex harassment cases ended the day he came to office. He had pledged to "bring the offenders to daylight within a week he gets power." Nothing happened.
His public allegations against the Special Economic Zone policies of Central Govt received no backing up from the state or party leaders.
He allowed himself to get mocked publicly in the Farris Aboobecker-verukkappettavan episode, after locking horn with the media-man.
His innocent-act in the HDIL Cybercity affair went horribly wrong. His backing away from the official inauguration at the last moment created the spark which ignited the controversy.
His govt faced a diabolical failure in the Private professional colleges case. He had vowed to "bring down the managements to its feet" if he came to power.
His failure to address the price explosion in commodity market has led to frustrations among common people.

In short, V.S Achuthanadan has soiled his own portrait. He cuts a sorry figure ridiculed by even his ministers and party. He still clings to his ideologies, which has been discarded by his own party.

Communism, in the way VS follows, can exist only in paper. There are numerous models of failed communist states and the doctrine appears wonderful only in theory. Social equality and prosperity can only succeed economic stability. China is an imposing

illustration of how a nation can prosper if you discard or modify such antiquated & ineffective theories. Have a look at Shanghai in 1990 and 2007!

The social equality envisaged by the founders of Communism is now, ironically, only found in a capitalist setting. Europe is a classical example. Western Europe has very effective laws and systems preventing any discrimination from occurring in a workplace, social setting or even at home. Staunch Labour laws make sure all's fair and square; both for employees & employers. Eastern Europeans, like in Poland, have freed themselves from the Communist doctrine, and slowly starting to enjoy the fruits of social prosperity because of their economic development.

The Communist leaders of India have opened their eyes and brains to this reality, barring a few like V.S.Achuthanandan. They play the Pepsi and Tata games for political mileage but at the back of their mind they can't turn a blind eye to investors. Industrial development is the backbone for any community and serves as a platform to establish social benevolence.

There are enough indications to assume that V.S regime will end prematurely. The Polit Bureau incidents and recent State Committee meetings have weakened his status in the party and public.

An ulcer can be covered by just placing a dressing over it, but a knowledgeable doctor understands the need to treat it from within. Kerala's woes have added complications and V.S. is ill-equipped to address the real issues. How long can you close the eyes towards the jobless educated youth? Or how long are you hoping to depend on the NRI sweat which contributes 60% of the spending power of a Keralite?

You can be a victim of your own ideologies, but why take us along?

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