Alleppey (Kerala), Feb 4 (IANS) Kerala’s ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is “supremely confident” of retaining power in assembly elections this year, Revenue and Coir Minister Adoor Prakash said on Wednesday.
“The Congress will be back in power. We are supremely confident,” the minister told IANS on the sidelines of the Coir Kerala 2016 event here, rejecting suggestions that the UDF was on the back foot.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been hit by allegations from one of the key accused in what is widely known as the “solar scam” ahead of the polls, prompting opposition calls that Chandy must quit.
Prakash insisted that this would not affect the UDF’s prospects in the electoral battle in which the main foe of the Congress would be the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
He said the government had undertaken several major and numerous small developmental projects in the past few years, including the Kochi Metro and the Kannur airport, and all of them had won widespread admiration.
“Our chief minister has also repeatedly toured each and every one of the 140 assembly constituencies, talking and interacting with people,” he said.
“The people of Kerala know the CM very well. I don’t think the allegations (hurled against him) will in any way affect him or the Congress or the UDF. We are going to come back to power,” Prakash said.
He blamed the CPI-M for the allegations of corruption levelled at Chandy. “The CPI-M is managing all this. It is their drama. But it won’t work.”
Prakash, who is considered close to the chief minister, said the coming together of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam – the traditional Dalit voice in Kerala – and the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) “will not have much impact” in the elections.
In recent years, the BJP has been trying hard to become a key player in Kerala’s electoral politics which has been traditionally dominated by the Congress-led UDF and the LDF.
Kerala also happens to be the only major state in the country where the BJP has never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat. The BJP is determined to break the jinx.
Prakash countered that this won’t be possible. “In Kerala, people don’t appreciate communal politics. That is why the BJP is only a bit player in this state. It will remain like that.”
In the last assembly election in 2012, the Congress ended up as the second largest party in the 140-member assembly after the CPI-M but it managed to form the UDF government.
Prakash was asked if the Congress would be able to topple the CPI-M from the top slot this year.
Sounding somewhat evasive, the minister told IANS: “I am sure about one thing. Our coalition will come to power again.”
(M.R. Narayan Swamy can be contacted at [email protected])