Kottayam (Kerala) | The Congress-led UDF in Kerala on Monday said that the ruling Left front's claims that the opposition is trying to use late former CM Oommen Chandy's name to win the Puthuppally bypoll indicates they are scared of him even after his death.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary K C Venugopal said that Chandy's name would come up during campaigning because of the mark he left among the masses, the fact that his demise has led to the bypoll and also for the reason that his son is the party's candidate.
"The ruling front claims we are seeking sympathy votes. But their reaction shows that they are more scared of Chandy after his death than when he was alive," Venugopal said.
The Congress MP, speaking at the inauguration of the UDF election convention at Puthuppally here, further charged that while the Left front was claiming they have brought development to the state, they have actually pushed Kerala to the brink of ruin.
Without directly referring to the recent controversy over some financial transactions between Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter and a private minerals company, Venugopal said that after coming to power consecutively for a second time, the Left front did nothing for the state or
its people, but ensured that the family members of party leaders are (financially) secure.
The AICC general secretary also claimed that various projects like Kochi metro or Karipur airport were initiated during the Congress rule when Chandy was CM.
Venugopal also attacked Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan by saying he is similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their administration; he alleged that they are both autocratic and do not care for anyone else but themselves.
Regarding choosing Oommen Chandy's son -- Chandy Oommen -- as the Congress candidate, Venugopal said that when the name was recommended by the KPCC, party leader Rahul Gandhi termed it as the "best choice".
He urged everyone to vote for Oommen and help him win the bypoll by a huge margin.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan too spoke along similar lines at the convention which was attended by many other senior leaders of the party.
They both were of the view that there was no need to leave out Oommen Chandy's name while campaigning for the bypoll and said that it would be impossible to do so.
Both Sudhakaran and Satheesan, remembering Chandy's contributions in the political arena, said that the farewell given to the Congress stalwart was an indication of the love people had for him.
Therefore, it is impossible to avoid mentioning him during campaigning and even if they do not refer to him, he is there in the people's minds, they both said.
They too, like Venugopal, said that the bypoll would act as an assessment of the Left government.
Satheesan also said that the ruling Left regime is responsible for the financial crisis in the state and the economic problems, like price rise, that the people are facing.
He alleged that the government is bankrupt and that many developmental projects are in the freezer due to lack of funds.
"Everything is in a shambles in the state," Satheesan alleged.
Both Sudhakaran and Satheesan threw their weight behind party candidate Oommen and said he was the best person to represent Congress in the bypoll.
They also referred to his work as a Youth Congress leader and how he was part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir alongside Gandhi.