Mullappally Ramachandran: There is no ‘V’ group in Congress
State Congress Chief Mullappally Ramachandran said that there is no ‘V’ group in the Congress party. He was referring to a report in Malayala Manorama that a new ‘V’ group has been formed in Congress comprising young MLAs and that this group was instrumental in Covid-19 relief measures taken by the party. He said that cadres were the real foot soldiers of the party during its fight against Covid-19, and added that the party is working as a well-oiled machinery devoid of groups among other things in an exclusive interview with The Kochi Post.
Q: The state Government is completing its fourth year on the 25th of this month. How do you evaluate the government led by Pinarayi Vijayan?
The Left front government led by Pinarayi Vijayan can be termed as a Government of disasters. While Ockhi was a natural disaster, the floods of 2018 and the deluge and land-slipping of 2019 were man-made. Failure to open the shutters of dams led to the 2018 floods while the 2019 deluge and land slip was owing to the unabated quarrying taking place at these places. Even after the Covid-19 outbreak, his government is found wanting in several areas and people are running from pillar to post to settle their natural grievances. State government has failed in arranging solace to the people and we have seen the migrant workers coming out in on the streets at Changanssery, Kozhikode and Kannur. The migrant workers entered into a street fight with the police at Pettah,Thiruvananthapuram in which the SHO of police got injured in stone pelting .This shows the total failure on the part of the state government and its Health and Home departments. The state is in the midst of an acute financial crisis and the Finance minister does not have any clue whatsoever on the actual financial position of the state. The government has also failed to extract good deals from the Central government and this is another major failure on the part of the government. In short the government has failed the people in all counts and I can say that this government is a disaster.
Q: While the Congress party is raising allegations against the state Government on Covid related actions, international media is praising the state on the manner in which they have tackled the crisis?
I stand by what I have said regarding the Covid-19 management. You can clearly see that there is a pattern in the news reports appearing in International media. Around 52 global media organisations have published articles showering praises on the health minister and Chief Minister for tackling Covid-19. There are other states like Chattisgarh which have tackled the Covid-19 crisis better. This means a paid PR agency was working overnight for this globally and I am of the opinion that the state government would have used the services of the data management US-based company, Sprinklr for this process. This company has expertise in Public relations and the state government seems to have made use of their expertise for such a wide coverage in International media. There is a clear professional hand behind these news stories appearing globally and the Chief Minister and Health minister must publicly own up that they have utilized the services of a global PR company for projecting their image internationally.
Q: What is your opinion on the 20 lakh crore schemes announced by the central government?
I must say that the central government disappointed us. Even after noted economists like Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Abhijit Banerjee along with former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan called for a direct transfer of money to the accounts of the poor and deprived, the central government did not listen. The schemes announced are just an eyewash and this is intended for the corporates. By tweaking the definition of MSMEs, the central government has clearly proved as to what the real intentions are of the Union government led by Narendra Modi. The long walk of the migrant workers is a clear pointer as to how things are now working in this country. The poor and hapless are walking along tarred roads in hot humid conditions under the blazing sun. Several perished on the way. The visuals appearing of children and women walking in the scorching sun are indeed disturbing for anyone with a heart. The Central government has proved time and again that they are not pro-poor. There has to be a reconsideration of the schemes announced by the central government so that the poor and hapless are directly benefited.
Q: There are two impending elections, Local body polls by October and the assembly elections in May 2021. How prepared are you?
The Congress party is prepared for the elections and so is the United Democratic Front (UDF). However, it is not yet clear when the elections will be announced. The Chief Minister is now on a PR spree to improve his image but the people of Kerala know the real Pinarayi Vijayan. The CPI (M) has always been a party of doublespeak. On the one hand they will speak about the working class and the proletariat; on the other hand they will embrace all the big corporates into their fold. The CPI (M) seems not prepared for the elections. We will repeat the stunning landslide of 2019 when the UDF won all the seats except for Alappuzha. People are angry at this government and the arrogance of Pinarayi Vijayan and his team is not acceptable to the people of the state.
Q: While you are claiming that the Congress party is fully prepared for the elections, your party is facing factionalism. Will this sync with your confidence of repeating a 2019 Lok Sabha victory?
There is no factionalism in the Congress and all these are being made out in the media by those supporting the CPI (M). The Congress party is a well-oiled machinery and we are prepared for the elections. Our workers are active and my gut feel is that the party will easily romp home against the misrule of Pinarayi Vijayan.
Q: There are reports that a new ‘V’ group of young leaders has taken shape in the party
There is no such ‘V’ group in Congress. I can vouch that the party is a single unit and the young MLAs are all part of the larger family called Congress. I can categorically say that the fight against Covid-19 was conducted by the party cadres who toiled day and night for bringing solace to the hapless people. Also, all the activities were coordinated at the KPCC headquarters Indira Bhawan and all the District Congress Committee offices had separate war rooms to co-ordinate the fight against Covid-19 and to bring relief and rescue to those suffering under the lockdown restrictions and those who were stranded, those with diseases and all. Congress party worked like a single unit in this time of crisis and there is no question of any particular individual staking claims for what the party has done.
Q: The Congress party has yet to announce the list of its secretaries. Without party office bearers in place, how are you going to fight an election?
The list of party secretaries will be announced soon. As I told earlier, the work allocation of party general secretaries will be announced after consultations with senior leaders. All our workers and leaders are getting positive feedback on our grass root work. This gives me full confidence on the strength and power of our party and its cadres.