Getting red signals from the rival faction in the party, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has retracted his statement which virtually held state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac responsible for bad handling of the lottery controversy by the LDF Government.
In a clarification made last night, Achuthanandan said his statement at a meet-the-press at Kochi on Monday was "misinterpreted" by media as an indictment of Isacc, a CPI-M Central Committee member and a prominent face of the faction led by the party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Achuthanandan had admitted at the press meet that there were lapses on the government's part in thoroughly studying the Central Lottery Act and taking measures to check irregularities being indulged in by distributors, for which the officials could not be blamed.
His remark was widely seen as an indictment of Isaac.
While the Chief Minister's statement came as a deep embarrassment for the LDF engaged in a high-voltage civic poll campaign, the opposition Congress-led UDF was qucick to seize on it to attack the rival suggesting it exposed the lack unity even in the cabinet.
For quite some time, the UDF leaders have been targetting the government alleging it allowed lottery sharks to siphon off huge amounts from the state through sale of out-of-state lotteries.
They also alleged that the lottery issue involved corruption and irregularities and accused sections in the government and the CPI-M of having unholy nexus with lottery operators.
After losing the initial rounds of the battle, the LDF could deal a few punches at the rival following AICC spokesperson Manu Abhishek Singvi's appearance as counsel for a big lottery distributor in lottery case in the Kerala High Court.
According to CPI-M sources, Achuthanandan's Kochi statement and the wide coverage and interpretation of it by media came as an embarrassement to the LDF in the concluding phases of the civic polls campaign.