Why is Kerala’s LDF government holding fire against central policy? It could be a ‘war’ strategy!

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BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 20, 2023 | 3:33 PMUpdatedJul 20, 2023 | 3:33 PM

Kerala finance minister borrowing policy

“Lose the battle but win the war” could be the military version of Hegelian philosophy that a society seeking emancipation from suppressive, retrograde forces may go through a defeat before it celebrates victory.

Apparently, the same philosophy is guiding the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government in Kerala. Jingoistic comments notwithstanding, the government, of late, appears to have taken a policy to go slow and tread carefully when faced with tough challenges.

Take, for instance, Finance Minister KN Balagopal’s assertive posture that Kerala would move the Supreme Court against the Union government’s decision to slash the state’s borrowing limit.

He added that the state was discussing the matter with senior lawyers and there seemed no legal hurdles in approaching the apex court.

“We have reasons to believe that the Union government is imposing needless curbs on the state’s borrowings. It is ignoring the state’s grievances despite repeatedly taking them up with the Union finance minister and the prime minister,” the aggrieved state minister told a news conference two weeks ago.

Related: Balagopal locks horns with Muraleedharan on borrowing limit issue

Despite Balagopal’s aggressive posture, the matter hasn’t reached the Supreme Court. When contacted, he told South First that it would take time, and no timeframe was fixed.

Government and CPI(M) sources hinted that the minister has been asked to go slow. Further probe revealed that the government was aiming to win a decisive war: It wants the Union government’s approval for its prestigious Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod semi-high-speed SilverLine rail corridor project.

Related: SilverLine project in limbo as Union minister says no approval granted

It has been trying to deploy Metroman E Sreedharan — a BJP candidate in the Assembly polls — to win the approval, with the assistance of KV Thomas, former Congress strongman and now the state’s permanent representative in New Delhi.

Sreedharan, however, recently mooted a high-speed rail corridor between Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur, while rejecting SilverLine.

Interestingly, the government has also gone slow against Governor Arif Mohammad Khan who has been sitting on nine Bills passed by the Assembly.

The Pinarayi government seems to be in no mood to antagonise the Union government and create further hurdles to the SilverLine project.