Kerala CM rejects opposition UDF's demand for resignation over LS poll outcome

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram | The outcome of the Lok Sabha polls, in which the ruling LDF faced a rout and the BJP was able to bag a seat for the first time in Kerala, prompted the opposition on Tuesday to demand in the assembly for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's resignation -- which he duly rejected.

The Kerala Legislative Assembly witnessed a heated exchange between the chief minister and Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan over the Lok Sabha polls.

Referring to the opposition's demand for his resignation, Vijayan attacked the Congress-led front saying that if a poor show in the general elections was the criteria, then the chief ministers of some Congress-ruled states, such as Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, too will have to resign.

The Kerala CM, while acknowledging the LDF's defeat in the general elections, said that despite winning 18 out of the 20 LS seats in the state, the UDF lost more votes than the Left, especially in Thrissur, as compared to the results in 2019.

Satheesan, on the other hand, said it was the LDF that was responsible for the BJP winning the central Kerala LS seat, as the saffron party took the lead in many assembly constituencies in Thrissur that were held by the Left.

"There was an unholy nexus between the BJP and the LDF in Kerala," Satheesan alleged.

The war of words erupted between the two sides during the discussion on the Demands for Grants in the budget for the financial year 2024-2025.

The heated debate also saw Vijayan singling out the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and attacking it, saying the IUML appeared to be "intoxicated" by its LS poll victory as one of its leaders indirectly referred to the Left leaders as dogs without actually calling them so.

"The LS poll outcome was the result of the efforts of all the parties who were opposed to the BJP and not one single party," he said.

The CM was referring to UDF MLA N Samsudheen telling the Left MLAs not to "bark" when he was making some allegations against the LDF government during the discussion on the opposition's notice seeking adjournment of the house.

The MLA immediately withdrew that word after the Speaker pointed out that it was unparliamentary.

During the arguments between the two fronts, the recent progress report about the state government's achievements was also criticised by the UDF, which alleged that the Left administration has not delivered on any of its promises.

Satheesan as well as his colleagues in the UDF, Ramesh Chennithala, P K Kunhalikutty, P C Vishnunadh and others, were also of the view that there was an "unholy nexus" between the LDF and the BJP, as the CPI(M) and the CM only attacked the Congress and Gandhi during the LS poll campaign, and not the saffron party or its leaders.

"The LDF and the chief minister never attacked Narendra Modi or Amit Shah during their poll campaign. You (Left) should stop aiding the BJP," Chennithala said, and alleged that the LDF was "facing degeneration".

Satheesan and the other UDF leaders also accused the Left government of financial mismanagement and extravagance.

They said that the Left's efforts to sway voters by holding outreach programmes like the Nava Kerala Sadas at huge state expenditure did not help them.

The opposition leader said that while the UDF has differences with the Left, it does not want it to be destroyed completely, because if that happens, then the BJP will replace it like in West Bengal and Tripura.

Refuting the allegations, Vijayan listed out his government's various achievements, such as having the highest recruitment in the country through the public service commission, online availability of public services, lowest number of families living in extreme poverty in the country and the construction of homes for the homeless and landless.

The CM also accused the Congress of having double standards when it comes to Kerala politics.

He said that the grand old party was opposed to the central agencies' probe against opposition leaders outside the state, and yet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had asked why there was no ED or CBI action against the Kerala CM.

Vijayan said that the Left was not concerned about the UDF's win in the LS polls as it happened because people thought that voting for the Congress-led opposition would help remove the BJP from power.

"What we view seriously is the BJP's win in Thrissur," he said.

During the discussions on the demand for grants, Satheesan also raised the issue of alleged increase in mortality rate in the state and suggested that it was possibly due to the post-Covid effects.

"However, the Health department in the state has no data about the post-Covid effects or deaths," he alleged, a claim strongly refuted as incorrect and baseless by state Health Minister Veena George.

The arguments and blame game concluded with the house passing the demands for grants with regard to heads of states, ministers and headquarters staff and administration of justice.

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