Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in the state the ‘Vikasana Munnetta Yatra’ by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala has been progressing across the state with the mass participation of people from all sections of society. Vikasana Munnetta Yatra translates to a ‘march furthering development’ and focuses on explaining the developmental activities under the current LDF government.
The yatra is being conducted in two legs and began on February 13. The northern leg of the yatra is led by A. Vijayaraghavan, the state secretary in-charge of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), the leading party in the Left Front. The southern leg, which began on February 14 from Ernakulam, is led by Binoy Viswam, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and a Member of Parliament from the state.
With the marches receiving a good response the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front has been left worried. The alliance feels that a growing acceptance of the current LDF government would be a hindrance to them coming to power in the fifteenth assembly elections in the state. The way the rallies have been happening it seems the voter in Kerala, who used to alternate between the UDF and LDF, has chosen the Left this time.
Northern leg of the Yatra reaches Wadakkanchery in Thrissur on Wednesday
The yatras clearly put forward the slogan 'LDF again for the building of new Kerala'. The Left front, which has completed all its promises in their 2016 manifesto has urged the public to vote them again to power. Public welfare and development were the key motives behind all developmental activities in the state for the past five years.
While talking to media at Palakkad, Vijayaraghavan said that Rahul Gandhi has only been making allegations without addressing political issues. The Congressmen in Kerala are seeking Modi's help to defeat the LDF, he said.
He further said that Gandhi was “hiding” the Congress-BJP relationship in the state and that the party has not yet commented on whether they have an alliance or electoral understanding with with the Jamaat-e-Islami.
While addressing a UDF rally in the state Rahul Gandhi said that the central investigative agencies are not attacking the government. “I don't understand why they are going soft on cases against the CM's office. Why is it taking so long. Why is the CBI and the ED not attacking the government. I am confused. I know when you fight the BJP, they attack you 24 hours a day," Gandhi said.
However, the central investigative agencies including the CBI, ED, and Customs Department have been targeting the state government and its ambitious projects including the Life Mission, a housing project. Though all the central investigative agencies have been trying to link the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case with the state government, nothing has been found as yet. The gold smuggling case and move by the investigative agencies, which were the centre of discussions until November last year, have subsided, especially after the local body elections in the state.
The yatras, however, are focussing the developmental activities of the state government. From increase in social security pension to infrastructure development, the governance of the LDF regime has been inclusive, they mention.
Southern leg of the yatra reached at Chirayinkeezhu in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
The social security pension, which was Rs 600 in 2016, has been increased to Rs 1500. When the then Oommen Chandy government was in the process of stepping down, pensions for 18 months were pending. Pensions under the current government have been disbursed timely and from April onwards the monthly pension would be Rs 1600. The government has led from the front from the Okchi cyclone. There have been floods, the Nipah virus and finally COVID-19. However, the government has ensured that no one in the state slept hungry.
In the first budget of the current government Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had announced then that he would revive the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and would implement Rs 50,000 crore worth of development projects over five years through an alternative investment mobilisation drive. With months to go 889 projects worth Rs 63,251 crore have been implemented. The face of roads, bridges, schools and hospital buildings have changed drastically in the state.
The northern leg of the march will conclude on February 26 at Thrissur and the second leg of the march across the southern districts will also conclude the same day at the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.