CM Vijayan hits out at Congress, LoP over decision to boycott Nava Kerala Sadas

CM Vijayan hits out at Congress, LoP over decision to boycott Nava Kerala Sadas

Kozhikode (Ker), Nov 24 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took a dig at the opposition Congress on Friday for its decision to boycott the state government's ongoing Nava Kerala Sadas programme, stating that its leadership has failed to convince even its own party members about it.

Directing his criticism at the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan, the CM accused the Congress leader of threatening the chairperson of the Paravur municipality in his constituency for allocating Rs one lakh for the government programme.

Satheesan's actions were an attempt to exert control over local self-government (LGS) bodies, hindering their free functioning, the chief minister alleged, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Nava Kerala Sadas in this northern district.

He claimed that it was a unanimous decision by a democratically elected municipal council to allocate funds for the government's outreach programme.

'His (Satheesan's) threat to remove the chairperson from the post if funds were allocated for the event is unacceptable,' the chief minister said, adding that such actions are unbecoming of Satheesan in his role as MLA of the constituency.

Quoting media reports, Vijayan said that the municipality's decision to grant funds was withdrawn by convening the council, after being intimidated by the chairperson. He alleged that in doing this, the LGS system was manipulated in an anti-democratic manner with a 'narrow and malicious intent'.

Claiming to have the ordinary Congress workers' support for the Nava Kerala Sadas, Vijayan mocked at the opposition party leadership's boycott of the programme, saying, 'They failed to convince even their own party members.' The people attending the Nava Kerala Sadas are not doing so out of compulsion, said Vijayan, but because they recognise the various pro-people initiatives implemented by the state government.

However, Satheesan rejected the CM's charges and turned the tables around, claiming that an LDF minister (his office) is the one who threatened the secretary of the Paravur municipality, forcing the office-bearers to release funds for the programme.

Addressing a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Satheesan also said termed 'illegal' the order issued by the additional chief secretary directing local self-government institutions to grant funds for Nava Kerala Sadas.

He said that neither the government nor the officers concerned have the authority to direct panchayats, municipalities and corporations to allocate money from their funds for the programme.

'The UDF had issued directives to the local bodies ruled by them not to allocate funds for the Nava Kerala Sadas after some of them had already taken steps to grant the money,' he said.

Based on the directives, the Paravur municipality later decided not to release the funds after an emergency council meeting, he explained. However, the municipal secretary released the amount, violating the council's decision, he claimed.

The opposition leader said that he had contacted the secretary, who claimed that he released the amount after being threatened by the minister's office.

'The secretary was threatened by the staff of the minister's office and officials,' the LoP charged.

He added that the UDF would legally challenge the 'illegal' actions of the additional chief secretary and the Paravur municipality secretary in this matter. PTI LGK ANE

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