Thiruvananthapuram | The Opposition Congress in Kerala on Friday trained its guns on the ruling CPI(M) ahead of the launch of the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led Nava Kerala Sadas, alleging that it was a political campaign by the Left government.
The party also termed the initiative as a public relations endeavour aimed at bolstering Vijayan's image.
Nava Kerala Sadas, headed by the chief minister and his cabinet ministers, is set to cover all 140 constituencies in Kerala. The primary focus is on receiving feedback from the public regarding the progress made by the CPI(M)-led LDF government over the past seven years in key areas.
The over-one-month-long campaign is all set to begin on November 18 in the Manjeshwaram constituency in the northernmost Kasaragod district.
Leader of the Opposition, V D Satheesan, said the Nava Kerala Sadas was a political campaign organised by the Left Front and the CPI(M) with an eye on the Parliament elections.
KPCC president K Sudhakaran alleged that the programme was a PR exercise for the chief minister, who is "more concerned about his family than the people of the state." Sudhakaran alleged that organising such a campaign using the taxpayers' money is like making a mockery of the public and a sign of the audacity of their power.
"It is a criminal offence to use the money in the exchequer to whitewash this government, which has made corruption and apathy its hallmark features," Satheesan said.
Sudhakaran reiterated the Congress allegation of purchasing a new bus and said the chief minister plans to arrive in a Benz bus worth Rs 1.05 crore with "ultra-luxurious" facilities.
"The chief minister's yatra being held in the name of Nava Kerala Sadas is akin to mocking the people. If they (the government) have dignity, they must be ready to put an end to this extravagance.
"The chief minister is more concerned about his family than the people. He has made it clear that he will not accept anyone's complaint in person," Sudhakaran said.
He said the programme was simply a PR exercise for Vijayan done by "exploiting" the local self-government bodies, cooperative societies, and the public, who are reeling under dire financial straits.
Transport Minister Antony Raju had rejected the allegation of "ultra-luxurious" bus by the Congress and said the KSRTC has Volvo buses which are more expensive than the newly purchased one.
He had also claimed that the bus would be used by the tourism department later.
As part of the Nava Kerala Sadas, the authorities plan to set up special counters to receive applications on important issues in the constituencies.
The chief minister and the ministers will be speaking about the implemented and upcoming government schemes, followed by arts and cultural programmes in each constituency.
The Congress and the BJP have been opposing the Sadas, saying it was an "election campaign" at taxpayers' expense.