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Leadership change cannot solve problem: CPI(M)

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, AUG. 30. The CPI(M) State secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan, has said that the crisis gripping the ruling UDF is not something that can be resolved with just leadership change.

Commenting on the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony's resignation and the Congress bid to find a new leader here today, Mr. Vijayan said that the Congress leadership had embarked on the search for a new leader knowing well that a leadership change would not by itself solve its problems and that the best they could hope for was that such an exercise would help reduce the people's ire towards the UDF Government.

`Nothing, but a ploy'

"This is nothing, but a ploy to hoodwink the people in view of the impending local body polls and the Assembly elections due in one-and-a-half years," the CPI(M) leader said.

Mr. Vijayan said that many results of the by-elections and the just-concluded Lok Sabha election were a warning given by the people to the UDF to mend its ways. The ruling front was, however, too engrossed in corruption, internal bickering and narrow vested interests that it did not heed these warnings. The Lok Sabha poll outcome was proof that a large number of people who had rallied behind the UDF in the 2001 Assembly election had switched their loyalties to the LDF. This had clearly showed that the only real option before the UDF was to seek a fresh mandate, he added.

Total collapse

The CPI(M) leader said that Mr. Antony was forced to quit as Chief Minister when it became clear that the Congress would head towards total collapse if it were to face the next Assembly election under his leadership. Mr. Antony's attempt, he said, was to give his action a façade of idealism. His claim was that he had stepped down owing responsibility for the UDF's defeat in the Lok Sabha election. What was the point in making such a claim months after the election results were known, Mr. Vijayan asked. The people knew well that there was little merit in Mr. Antony's arguments, he said.

He pointed out that there was a time when majority of the Congress MLAs sought Mr. Antony's resignation. Some of the UDF constituents also had taken such a stance. Some of his Cabinet colleagues too were critical of him. Mr. Antony did not think it necessary to step down on any of these occasions. He also had no difficulty in heading a Government that had given up the principle of collective responsibility. He was, in fact, prepared for any compromise so that he could remain in office. Making tall claims about his resignation was nothing but ridiculous, Mr. Vijayan said.

Comparison

The CPI(M) State secretary took exception to Mr. Antony's post-resignation plea for a comparison between the performance of his and the previous LDF Government. He wondered how there could be a comparison between the LDF dispensation that had tried to reach relief to farmers and the UDF regime that had driven them to suicide and between the LDF Government that had ruled without even a single communal conflict and one that had plunged the State into communal conflagrations.

There was no comparison between the two Governments on most other counts as well, he said. Mr. Antony's plea would only result in a comparison that would expose the UDF's misrule and highlight the achievements of its predecessor, Mr. Vijayan added.

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