Coming as it did amid the Budget session, it was only expected that the LDF would use the fresh prominence bestowed on Oommen Chandy to politically belittle and embarrass opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. Evidently, the LDF gameplan is to diminish not just Chennithala but former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, too.
It was CPM's Taliparamba MLA James Mathew who first tore into the two senior Congress leaders. "We are happy that for the last five years you (the UDF) had managed to keep silent the persons responsible for the disgraceful exit of the former UDF government," Mathew told the opposition benches, in a clear reference to Chandy who was not in the Asssembly on Wednesday.
"And the impression that the man who came in as replacement and occupied the opposition leader's post was not up to the mark was first created by some channels. We also said this in the Assembly and now the Congress, too, has realised this to be true," he said.
Drilling it further in, Mathew said: "During the last five years, the opposition leader had been conducting press conferences thrice daily against the chief minister like he was taking medicines. What has happened to him now. He has been pushed to a corner."
And now, referring once again to Chandy, Mathew said the Congress was trying to present old wine in new bottle. He said the old wine now been brought from Delhi in a new bottle would only goad the LDF to discuss an old history that Kerala would like to forget. This was a clear hint that the sleaze charges surrounding the Solar scam would be revived as a campaign issue by the LDF.
Already the complainant in the Solar sex scandal had written to the chief minister demanding a CBI inquiry into the alleged sexual abuse. Top Congress leaders like Oommen Chandy, K C Venugopal, A P Anilkumar and Hibi Eden are the main accused.
Later, outside the Assembly, the opposition leader said he welcomed the return of Oommen Chandy to the leadership position in Kerala. "Oommen Chandy did not emerge as a leader overnight," Chennithala said. "I don't feel that I have been sidelined," he added.