New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Changing governments every five years has harmed Kerala, senior Congress leader K.V. Thomas says, exuding confidence that his party will make history by retaining power in the state.
Thomas also insisted that the Congress-Left tie-up in West Bengal “will have no impact” on the May 16 assembly polls in Kerala, where the two are in direct conflict.
“I am confident the Congress and UDF (United Democratic Front) will return to power,” Thomas told IANS in an interview.
“People of Kerala have begun to realise that changing governments every five years has often harmed development.
“People are realizing that in a state like Kerala there is a need for continuity in governance. Hence, we as Congressmen have every chance of a pleasant surprise this year,” Thomas said.
He said the politics of Kerala and West Bengal were different.
“In Kerala, we (Left and Congress) are strong opponents of each other. But in Bengal we needed to come together to fight the tyranny of (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee.”
Analysing the situation in Kerala, he said: “Developmental works and programmes like the chief minister’s ‘Jan Sampark’ programme, wherein he goes to every district and village periodically, as well as a number of welfare schemes and major projects like Kochi Metro and Vizhinjam port will help the Congress and UDF.”
The state government has signed an agreement with Adani group to build the Rs.7,525 crore port.
“The Congress government has also inaugurated the Kannur airport. The government is working on a budget airline for Gulf countries,” said Thomas, who has also been Kerala’s excise and tourism minister.
He said in the past some good programmes launched by Congress governments were either stalled or altered when the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) took power.
“One such initiative was in the education sector where the Congress encouraged private educational institutions along with those run by the government. But once the Left took power, they favoured bringing everything under government control,” Thomas said.
“The reality is that often the government does not have adequate financial and technical resources.”
Thomas said the Congress had been moving towards total prohibition “step by step” but the Communists have a different perception.
Kerala voters have changed governments in every election since the 1980s.
Asked about his two-year stint as chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament, which has recommended bringing the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) under parliament’s control, Thomas said: “The stint has been particularly satisfactory as we made good recommendations in terms of reforms for PACs both in the centre and state levels and also on the role of CAG.
“Besides stressing that appointment of CAG should not be left as the exclusive purview of the government, the PAC also felt that state legislatures should work towards having independent cadres of officials like the secretariats of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” he said.
(Nirendra Dev can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)