Kerala CM retracts dig at minister over lottery issue
Thiruvananthapuram: Getting red signals from
the rival faction in the party, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has retracted his statement which virtually
held state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac responsible for
bad handling of the lottery controversy by the LDF Government.
In a clarification made last night, Achuthanandan said his
statement at a meet-the-press at Kochi on Monday was
"misinterpreted" by media as an indictment of Isacc, a CPI-M
Central Committee member and a prominent face of the faction
led by the party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Achuthanandan had admitted at the press meet that there
were lapses on the government`s part in thoroughly studying
the Central Lottery Act and taking measures to check
irregularities being indulged in by distributors, for which
the officials could not be blamed.
His remark was widely seen as an indictment of Isaac.
While the Chief Minister`s statement came as a deep
embarrassment for the LDF engaged in a high-voltage civic poll
campaign, the opposition Congress-led UDF was qucick to seize
on it to attack the rival suggesting it exposed the lack unity even in the cabinet.
For quite some time, the UDF leaders have been targetting the
government alleging it allowed lottery sharks to siphon off
huge amounts from the state through sale of out-of-state
lotteries. They also alleged that the lottery issue involved
corruption and irregularities and accused sections in the
government and the CPI-M of having unholy nexus with lottery
After losing the initial rounds of the battle, the LDF could
deal a few punches at the rival following AICC spokesperson
Manu Abhishek Singvi`s appearance as counsel for a big lottery
distributor in lottery case in the Kerala High Court.
According to CPI-M sources, Achuthanandan`s Kochi statement
and the wide coverage and interpretation of it by media came
as an embarrassement to the LDF in the concluding phases of
the civic polls campaign.
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