‘Shed False Prestige. Let Army Take Charge,’ Kerala Leader Of Opposition Tells CPM GovernmentLeader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala (Kannanshanmugam, shanmugam studio, Kollam/Wikipedia)

Senior Congress politician and leader of opposition in the Kerala Legislative Assembly Ramesh Chennithala has advocated that the Indian Army be given the complete command of the flood relief and rescue operations in the state.

The Southern Command of the Indian Army should be asked to take complete charge and the state government should monitor the situation, Chenithala was quoted in reports as saying at the Cantonment House on Saturday.

Given the unprecedented scale of the tragedy, Chennithala said the Communist Party Of India-led Left Democratic Front government should shed false prestige and handover the all relief and rescue operations to the Army.

Chennithala clarified that he was not playing partisan politics over the calamity and said it was an earnest appeal to the state government to save the lives of thousands of people across the state who are trapped and stranded.

“The Chief Minister should shed the false prestige and entrust the task of rescuing the marooned people and supply of relief materials to the defence forces,” Chennithala was quoted as saying at a press conference.

Chennithala added that whenever such natural disasters have happened in the past, the Army was in full charge of the operations.

Chennithala also blamed the state government for delay in mounting rescue operations for the stranded people. Instead of giving out statistics of the rescue material, he said, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should demand more forces to save the lives of the people and to meet their urgent needs like food, clothing and medicines. Chennithala added that he expected an interim financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore from the Prime Minister to the state.

Reacting strongly to Chennithala‘s criticism, the head of Kerala’s communist party Kodiyeri Balakrishnan mocked the Opposition leader for advocating “total Army deployment”. “The Opposition leader is calling for the Army to take over the state’s administration, which will not happen,” he said.

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