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'It's a lie that the CPI-M is anti-reform'
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May 16, 2006

On Sunday, the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader V S Achuthanandan, who is the new chief minister of Kerala [Images], landed at Thiruvananthapuram airport to a rousing welcome.

His supporters garlanded him; hundreds of them wanted to shake hands with him; and in the melee, some kissed him, some embraced and many shouted: "VS is our leader."

Politicians in Kerala rarely get such a welcome.

Kerala's new icon: Brand Achuthanandan

In recent onths, Achuthanandan fought rivals within the party and then ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front campaign against his brand of politics. All of them allege the new chief minister is a man who lacks vision for Kerala's much needed development.

But the voters decisively proved that Achuthanandan who is known for his spartan lifestyle and straightforward talk is the right man to rule them.

In a brief conversation with Managing Editor George Iype on Sunday, a day before he was chosen as the state's new chief minister, Achuthanandan spelled out what he plans to do for the state.

Your predictions have come true. On the campaign trail, you had predicted that the LDF would get 100 seats.

Yes. We performed well in the election. I just want to say the people have won this election. People who were suffering the anti-people, pro-rich rule by the Congress government have won. The election results have proved that people are convinced how corrupt the Congress government was. I am personally happy that all the issues I raised have been accepted by the people.

How different will the LDF rule be in Kerala?

Ours will be a corruption-free government. In the last five years, the Congress government has been deceiving the people of Kerala in the name of development. Where is the development in Kerala? I cannot see any.

Many Congress leaders have become rich and richer. The last government's achievement has been the worst in the history of Kerala. The election results have proved all that.

Kerala: Where change is static

Will your government investigate all the corruption scandals?

We will investigate all the corrupt deals. We will also investigate all the sex scandals that the Congress government has been trying to cover up.

What is your vision for Kerala and the state's development?

People's overall development is our vision. Kerala has been a model state of development because of pathbreaking ideas and actions by the Left parties in the state all these years.

The panchayat system of governance is the best model of governance in any state in the country. Our development priority will be to help the poor and the needy in all the fields, whether it is education, healthcare etc.

But Congress leaders says you are anti-reform, and if you become chief minister of Kerala, the state will go back in development?

The tragedy is that is the Congress has been preaching development, but doing nothing? Where is the development here? Farmers are here committing suicide. It is a lie that the Congress is spreading that the CPI-M is anti-reform.

In fact, it was the LDF (CPI-M led Left Democratic Front) government, which made Kerala an IT-savvy state and a model state for tourism.

Our reform policies are always people friendly. The problem with the Congress government is that its reform policies are only meant for the party leaders to make money.

Do you think factionalism within the CPI-M will affect your government's functioning?

There is no factionalism in our party. It is the creation of the media.

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