Chandy ministry sails into fourth year

The Congress-led UDF Government led by Oommen Chandy on Sunday stepped into its fourth year, resolving to go ahead with its "development and welfare" agenda after doing well in the Lok Sabha elections.

PTI| Last Updated: May 18, 2014, 13:13 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF Government led by Oommen Chandy on Sunday stepped into its fourth year, resolving to go ahead with its "development and welfare" agenda after doing well in the Lok Sabha elections.

The UDF under the stewardship of the 70-year-old Chief Minister is firmly in the saddle sans any threat to its stability from within or outside as it has been able to contain the anti-Congress trend that lashed rest of the country in the general elections.

Though this time round it failed to repeat its splendid 2009 tally of 16 seats, the UDF clinched 12 of the 20 seats and checked the BJP from opening its account in the state.
If the number of seats had gone down below 10, then Chief Minister would have to account for that.
Vowing to press ahead with his development agenda, Chandy had said the poll outcome reflected endorsement of the policies and programmes of his ministry and announced a slew of schemes named "Mission 676", to be implemented in the remaining two years of its tenure.

Though the poll results have caused some rumblings in the Congress in the state over loss of some seats like Thrissur and Chalakkudi, they are unlikely to gain momentum.

Congress heavyweight P C Chacko was humbled by cine actor Innocent, who contested as LDF independent in Chalakkudi.
According to political observers, Chandy is unlikely to face any serious threat from within the
Congress as none of his potential rivals are capable of challenging him in the prevailing circumstances.

The big task before him, however, is how well he succeeds in engaging effectively with the Narendra Modi Government assuming office at the Centre later this week.

Several major projects like Vizhinjam Port in the state
would require the Centre`s support.

Soon after the elections results were declared on Friday, Chandy had expressed confidence of striking a smooth working relationship with the new government without compromising on the political ideals of Congress.

He, however, hinted that there could be some changes in the ministry but did not set any deadline for the exercise.

Chandy assumed office on May 18, 2011 with a slender majority of 72 seats in the 140-member assembly, with sceptics expressing doubts about the stability and durability of his ministry.

An astute politician with a mass following and a shrewd strategist in coalition politics, Chandy had right from the start asserted that numbers would not be a problem for him as he believed that the durability of the government would largely depend upon its performance.

But the UDF`s majority in the assembly has gone up in the three years with a CPI(M) member resigning and getting re-lected on Congress ticket and the RSP, which has two MLAs, quitting the LDF and joining the UDF on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls.

Dealing a severe blow to the CPI(M), RSP`s N K Premachandran defeated the party polit bureau member M A Baby in the Kollam Lok Sabha seat.