The green brigade in the UDF in Kerala is striking a distinct position compared to rest of the members of the Assembly in the Front. They have also started using the new media for their campaign. (T. N. Pratapan, V. D. Satheesan, V. T. Balram and Hibi Eden (Congress) K. M. Shaji (Muslim League )and M. V. Sreeyams Kumar (SJD) are blogging at GreenThoughtsKerala)
The scenario in the Assembly has been changing over the past decade with more members coming forward to propound the cause of environment. The Legislative Committee on Environment has over the years produced well-studied reports. Two decades ago, K. V. Surendranath of CPI was the only member campaigning for environmental causes. On the other side people like Seethi Haji (IUML) asked how it rained at sea if forests were required for precipitation. Now, there are several members both in the ruling and Opposition fronts wanting to protect the environment. They include Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan who once spoke against environmentalists.
However, a question would arise as to how deep their commitments are. Are they simply moving with the tide or playing politics? It is notable that almost all members of the green brigade are people who had missed out on ministerial positions. They have an axe to grind against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other UDF leaders. And they know that fighting corruption from within a la Achuthanandan has a market. Yet, that does not make the causes they are expounding less important.
Yes, they are indeed playing politics and it is notable that Mr. Chandy and industries Minister P. K. Kunhalikutty are in the defensive. Mr. Chandy even said that they are doing the campaign because they are sincere. May be, people can trust them more than Mr. Achuthanandan who is also expounding the same causes.
If they are sincere, they will persist. Mr. Achuthanandan forgot many of the causes he expounded when he came to power. The litmus test for green politicians of UDF too would be what they do when they come to power.
Update: Well, we did not have to wait until they come to power to know how steadfast they would be on their views. The green politicians are now supporting tourism projects such as that proposed in Nelliyampathy disregarding questions whether the land proposed to be used for such projects are forests or environmentally fragile areas. They do say that they changed their stand because Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has conceded their demands including environmental impact assessment of all projects under Emerging Kerala initiative.