Rival fronts in Kerala attack Modi

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 23 (IANS) The traditional rival fronts in Kerala — Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) — went after Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “sidelining cooperative banks”, following demonetisation.

Addressing reporters here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that on Tuesday the Kerala assembly passed a resolution against the Centre for “sidelining cooperative banks” and they decided to meet Prime Minister Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.

BJP legislator O. Rajagopal was the only one opposing the move.

“Even though Rajagopal voted against the motion, he did not have any issue in meeting the Prime Minister. But today (Wednesday) the Prime Minister’s office informs us that the all-party delegation can meet Jaitley but not him,” said Vijayan.

“This sort of reaction is not surprising from those who adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini and we are going to write to the Centre strongly against this act. We have now decided to not meet Jaitley as we have already met him,” said Vijayan.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said this is complete disrespect towards Kerala and this action is highly condemnable.

“Modi has proved that he is the biggest autocrat in history and this does not augur well with the post that he holds as such an act has never been done by any prime minister in the country,” said Chennithala.

Veteran legislator and former State Finance Minister K.M. Mani said this is a blot on the federal structure of governance that prevails in the country.

“This decision by the Prime Minister is going to unsettle the strong foundations of Centre-State relations,” said Mani.

The resolution and the decision to meet Modi was decided on Tuesday at a special session of the state assembly that was called after both the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF attacked Modi for excluding the cooperative banks from accepting or exchanging the spiked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a three-tier system with about 1,600 primary cooperative banks attached to 14 district banks, which are further linked to the apex Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB).

The total deposits in these cooperative banks, according to Kerala Cooperation Minister A.C. Moideen are around Rs 1.27 lakh crore.

State BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran, reacting to the latest developments, told reporters that the decision to call off the Delhi trip shows that the government here is not serious about its demand.

“It’s surprising that the decision not to meet Jaitley has been made. In fact, all such issues regarding finance have to be addressed by the Finance Minister. They should have met the Finance Minister and even after that if nothing happens, then they could air their grievances to the Prime Minister. There is no need to blame the Centre or the Prime Minister. The rival fronts here have lost an opportunity to fulfil the needs of the state,” said Rajasekheran.

State BJP leaders have been saying that the rival fronts are jittery because close to Rs 30,000 crores in these cooperative banks is unaccounted money, mostly belonging to politicians as no details of source are needed to deposit money in any primary cooperative bank in the state.

–IANS

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