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Kerala heads for final showdown in this assembly

Wednesday February 02, 2011 02:17:34 PM, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: Rival fronts in the Kerala political spectrum are getting ready for a final showdown in the last session of the present Kerala assembly beginning Friday with the governor's address.

The session ends Feb 24 and by then Kerala will get ready for the campaign to the assembly elections as the term of the present V.S. Achuthanandan government ends May 17.

The budget will be presented by state Finance Minister Thomas Issac Feb 10.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) appears to have a slight edge ahead of the session as the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is on the back foot due to the infamous Kozhikode ice cream parlour sex case making news again.

The alleged sex racket in the early 1990s used an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode as its base, giving the scandal its name. At the centre of the scandal is former state industries minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, the foremost state leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, the second biggest party in the UDF.

A witness in the case, Regina, alleged that she was sexually exploited by the minister in the early 1990s.

Even though Kunhalikutty is not a member of the present assembly, the UDF will have to be prepared for a showdown from the treasury benches, who will seek to maximise on the issue.

Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator Raju Abraham told IANS that the issue would be taken up on the floor of the house.

"Even though the focus of our discussions will be the achievements of our government, the politically sensitive and much-talked about ice cream sex case would be a live issue," Abraham said.

"The new revelations in the case on how Kunhalikutty as a minister influenced even the judiciary are a serious issue," he added.

Kunhalikutty's estranged brother-in-law K.M. Rauf has alleged that the former minister got away in the ice cream sex case by influencing the judiciary and also by paying money to the witnesses.

Another reason for cheer for the Achuthanandan government is the new lease of life that has come the way of the proposed Rs.1,500 crore Smart City Kochi IT project.

The UDF has been attacking the government saying that nothing had progressed in the mega IT project despite the foundation stone being laid more than three years ago.

Veterans like Achuthanandan, 87, Local Self Government Minister Paloly Mohammed Kutty, 78, and state Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan, 75, are likely to bow out from electoral politics in the upcoming assembly elections.








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