Kerala Communist parties spar over food security scheme

May 20th, 2008 - 6:47 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, May 20 (IANS) The two communist parties in Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government Tuesday got into a spat over the implementation of a food security scheme, leading to a high-powered government meet being called off. The two-day meet of the LDF committee, which had listed out several issues to be discussed and was to take stock of their two years in power, had to be called off within an hour as leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) failed to settle their differences over the integrated food security (IFS) scheme.

This is the second LDF meeting that came to an abrupt end. The first one called off mid-way was May 14.

The parties differ on who is to head the ministers’ panel that will oversee the IFS scheme implementation.

The CPI, which holds the agriculture portfolio, wants its minister to head the IFS scheme, while the CPI-M feels Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan should be at its helm.

CPI state secretary Veliyam Bharghavan had earlier accused the chief minister of wanting to control all departments.

LDF convenor Vaikom Viswam, however, played down the divide in the LDF.

” This is an issue where different opinions have surfaced and we are discussing it in detail. The meeting had to be called off today since the chief minister had to leave for Delhi. We will discuss this again,” Viswam told IANS.

The ruling LDF has 99 members, of which the CPI-M has 61 legislators and the CPI has 17, and the rest are shared by six other allies.

The opposition, meanwhile, held a daylong protest in front of the state secretariat over the government’s failure on various fronts.

“It is sad that the IFS programme has still not taken off, while other states have gone forward with it. A lot of money is being wasted in celebrating the government’s second anniversary, while people are suffering on account of rising prices,” leader of opposition Oommen Chandy told reporters.

He added that the chief minister had “no faith in his ministers and vice versa”.

“The need of the hour is that (state) Finance Minister Thomas Isaac should allot Rs.8 billion to see that the programme takes off,” Chandy said.

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