At Attingal, UDF takes up coir workers’ cause

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CPI(M) trying to destroy unity of Opposition parties against NDA, says Oommen Chandy launching the front’s campaign

The United Democratic Front (UDF) formally launched its campaign in the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday by taking up the cause of workers in the coir sector in an apparent bid to tap into the vote base in the coir villages of Chirayinkeezhu and other areas that form part of the constituency.

UDF candidate Adoor Prakash, Minister for Coir in the previous Oommen Chandy government, accused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) of ignoring the welfare of coir workers. “While the UDF government had increased the minimum wages and pension of coir workers soon after it came to power, the current dispensation is yet to effect an increase,” he said while addressing UDF workers at a convention in Attingal.

‘Industry stagnant’

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who inaugurated the programme, highlighted the hardships faced by coir workers, who continued to struggle to make both ends meet. He also claimed that the coir industry was stagnant, allegedly owing to the apathy of the LDF government.

Recounting the allocation of portfolios during the previous UDF government’s term, Mr. Chandy said that the coir portfolio was given to Mr. Prakash at the latter’s insistence. “He (Mr. Prakash) proved to be an efficient administrator as well as a champion of the coir workers’ cause,” he added.

Mr. Chandy accused the Communist Party of India (Marxist) of attempting to destroy the unity among opposition parties in the country.

He said that a majority of the Opposition parties had realised the need to rally behind the Congress to defeat the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“The CPI(M) central leadership and its Bengal unit have also come to terms with reality to extend support to the ongoing efforts to stitch together a united opposition. However, the party’s Kerala unit has stuck to its regressive stance even as they struggle to convince their colleagues elsewhere,” Mr. Chandy said.

Veteran leader Thalekunnil Basheer, the last Congress leader to have represented the constituency (until he was defeated by Susheela Gopalan of the CPI(M) in 1991), was among the attendees. V.S. Sivakumar and K.S. Sabarinadhan, MLAs; District Congress Committee (DCC) president Neyyattinkara Sanal; and former DCC president Karakulam Krishnapillai were present, amon others.

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