LDF plans protests in Kerala against Centres high-handedness

LDF plans protests in Kerala against Centre's high-handedness

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala is planning a series of agitations against the Centre

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala is planning a series of agitations against the Centre alleging it is using central agencies to target the state government.

The front is holding a state-wide protest on Monday (November 16). At least 25 lakh workers are expected to participate, the LDF claimed.

The government has however decided not to extend prohibitory orders, in place for many months in view of coronavirus, paving the way for agitational programmes.

Initially though, it was Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a central agency probe two days after the gold smuggling case linked to the United Arab Emirates consulate in the state capital surfaced.

Later, the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing a smuggling case for the first time.

Also read: Key accused in Kerala gold smuggling case gets bail in customs case

Initially, the state government supported the central agencies, but it started becoming wary when the central agencies started looking into some of the government’s pet projects.

“Central agencies are in a race to discredit the government and question its policy decisions. State government officials have been summoned frequently and they are trying to sabotage some of the pet projects. We will not allow this to happen,” said chief minister Vijayan.

Recently, the government also withdrew the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

BJP and Congress, however, criticised the Kerala government’s move to restrict central agencies. “The government is scared that the agencies will dig out more corrupt deals. The CM’s office is reduced to a den of smugglers and party office to a narcotics hub,” said BJP state president K Surendran. He also questioned CPI(M) central leaders’ silence over gold smuggling and narcotics cases.

The Kerala government is also faced with a crisis after the exit of CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and allegations of kickbacks in government programmes.

The Kerala government is facing the heat regarding a number of issues: The gold smuggling case; the Enforcement Directorate seeking details on four pet projects (Kfone, eMobility Hub, Smarty City, and Down Town); the arrest of Kodiyeri’s son, Bineesh, in Bengaluru in relation to a drug’s case; alleged irregularities in a particular scheme under the Life Mission project; and the anti-corruption unit of the CBI registering a case last under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

“Some of these agencies are jumping their briefs to target the government. They want to discredit the state but we will continue with our people- friendly developmental works,” the  State law minister A K Balan.

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