LDF-led Kerala govt’s handling of job aspirants’ stir smacks of arrogance and insensitivity
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s stubborn refusal to depute ministers for talks with the protestors cannot but increase the revulsion against the state govt among a sizable section of people
The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala Government has bungled badly, yet again, and squandered an opportunity to end the agitation of the job aspirants figuring in the Public Service Commission (PSC)’s rank list.
In protest against the government’s failure to settle the issue amicably, the job aspirants had launched an indefinite fast in front of the Secretariat in the state capital on Monday. They had threatened to launch the fast if the government did not issue a favourable order by then.
The chance to settle the issue amicably came following the intervention of the CPI(M) state secretariat, which directed the government to initiate ministerial level talks to end the agitation. In a rare act in asserting itself, the party directed the Chief Minister to talk to the agitators.
Home Secretary T K Jose and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Manoj Abraham held talks with the representatives of the rank lists for last grade servant and civil police officers on Saturday.
The two officers had told the agitators that they would try to get a favourable order. Protestors’ representative Laya Rajesh said they were happy with the talks but will continue their stir until they received a written assurance. “It is not that we do not trust the government. But we want the government to give it in writing,” she added.
With the government failing to meet the deadline set by the protestors, they went on an indefinite fast.
The protestors’ demands include appointment of more aspirants in the last grade category in various universities, creation of more vacancies in higher secondary schools and reducing night watchman duty hours, which, in turn, will create more posts.
The government erred badly by deputing only bureaucrats to hold talks. The government’s move invited criticism from the Opposition, which accused it of not being sincere in wanting to end the agitation.
The decision to depute the bureaucrats is indicative of the CPI(M) leaders’ arrogance and insensitivity to the demands of the peaceful protestors, the Opposition has said. Instead of putting the bureaucrats on the job, the Chief Minister himself should have talked to the protestors or deputed ministers to hold the talks.
Another instance of the CPI(M) leaders’ arrogance came to light when the representatives of the job aspirants went, uninvited, to meet minister Kadakampalli Surendran at his official residence. The representatives who met the minister said they were shocked by the remarks made by him. He reportedly told them that they would not get jobs even if the PSC rank lists were extended for ten years!
The shocking response and the arrogant attitude of the minister is bound to increase the resentment against the government and turn public opinion further against it.
Meanwhile, the Congress campaign in support of the job aspirants is set to receive a big boost with Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi arriving in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Rahul, who is in Kerala on a four-day visit, earlier participated in a tractor rally in Wayanad in support of the agitating farmers in Delhi. He will also inaugurate the concluding function in the state capital to mark the end of the “Kerala Aishwarya Yatra” undertaken by Ramesh Chennithala.
Meanwhile, Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil and vice-president K S Sabarinathan, who were on a fast in solidarity with the job aspirants, were shifted to hospital as their health deteriorated. Three vice-presidents of the Youth Congress, N S Nuzoor, Rigil Makkutti and Riaz Mukkoli replaced them at the protest venue.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy had visited Shafi and Sabarinathan at the protest venue and urged them to end their fast in view of the rapid deterioration in their health.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s stubborn refusal to depute ministers for talks with the protestors cannot but increase the revulsion against the state government. In the process, the LDF stands to lose the support of a sizable section of people.
CPI(M)’s acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan should also exercise restraint in his remarks on sensitive issues. His latest remark ridiculing the agitation of the job aspirants will only add to the anger against the Pinarayi Government.
(Views are personal)