KL This Week: Nava Kerala Sadas Visits 111 Assembly Constituencies; Sees Massive Public Participation
Image credit: Manorama News
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the key developments from across Kerala in the past week, including the ED’s withdrawal of all the summons issued to former finance minister Dr. Thomas Isaac after the intervention of the High Court. Other highlights include the public outreach program of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government nearing completion, the United Democratic Front (UDF) MPs refusing to sign the joint memorandum of MPs demanding the rightful allocation of funds, and the conclusion of the International Film Festival of Kerala.
ED WITHDRAWS SUMMONS TO FORMER FM
The ED has withdrawn all the summons issued to former Finance Minister Thomas Isaac regarding the masala bonds issued by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The withdrawal was communicated to the High Court on December 14, following a petition filed by Isaac and KIIFB CEO K. M. Abraham. The central agency registered a case against Isaac under the Foreign Exchange Money Act (FEMA) related to KIIFB raising funds worth Rs 2,150 crores. The former minister and KIIFB approached the Kerala High Court to restrain further summons, citing the ED's demand for bank statements Isaac's family members.
“After nearly 2 years of legal battle, ED withdrew summons sent to KIIFB and me for violation of FEMA in issuing masala bonds. The HC also held that there cannot be a roving inquiry without clear evidence of wrongdoing. The HC has upheld my right to privacy,” Isaac wrote on ‘X’, reacting to the developments.
NAVA KERALA SADAS COMPLETES VISIT TO 111 CONSTITUENCIES
On December 16, the Nava Kerala Sadas completed its visit to 111 of the 140 Assembly constituencies in the state. The outreach program will conclude on December 24 in Thiruvananthapuram, with the entire Cabinet led by the chief minister visiting all the Assembly segments. The positive response from the people is evident, with over 3.44 lakh complaints received during the event from 83 constituencies on December 12, despite the UDF calling for a boycott of the programme. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has also criticised the outreach programme, while Youth Congress members held black flag protests near the venues of the Nava Kerala Sadas.
UDF MPs REFRAIN FROM SIGNING JOINT MEMORANDUM
UDF MPs once again refused to sign the joint memorandum to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding rightful financial allocation to the state. LDF MPs urged Sitharaman to disburse eligible funds, withheld for months citing frivolous reasons. Kerala Finance Minister K. N. Balagopal accused UDF MPs of betraying the people's interests by continuously avoiding joint meetings with the FM. Elamaram Kareem, MP, the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] in the Rajya Sabha, claimed that LDF MPs waited for one week before meeting the FM on December 13.
The LDF government has been accusing the Union government of denying “deserving” financial allocations to the state, withholding revenue shares, blocking funds for central schemes, and reducing the borrowing limit, affecting government developmental activities.
28TH EDITION OF IFFK CONCLUDES
The IFFK in Thiruvananthapuram concluded on December 15 after attracting film enthusiasts, artists, and critics. Considered the world’s most people-centred film festival, it holds competitions for films from Asian, African, and Latin American countries. Awards were presented for best film, director, debut director, audience poll award, and best international, Asian, and Malayalam movies, among other categories.
Leading film artist Prakash Raj, a strong critic of Hindutva politics, was the chief guest at the closing ceremony on December 15. In his address, he cautioned people to stay vigilant about the narrative being built around the country. Congratulating and thanking the people of Kerala for keeping away the fundamentalist forces, he said “It is always a joy to be here, for your warmth, for the love, for the beliefs you have and especially, despite being God’s own country you keep God away from politics.”
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