The Kerala Chief Minister takes a trip across the state to tell about his good work but his party is falling apart
The Nava Kerala Sadass (New Kerala Collective), a prelude to the 2024 Lok Sabha election, being held under the auspices of the CPI-M ruled State Government has run into trouble as the internal group war within the party and the discontentment among the constituent units of the Left Democratic Front coming out in the open.
The Sadass is a journey undertaken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and all members of the council of ministers through the 140 assembly constituencies in the State to highlight the “good works” done by the CPI-M during the last eight years since it came to power in 2016. A custom built luxury bus with state-of-the-art seating arrangements and communication facilities transport the ministers across the assembly constituencies in all the districts. The Sadass that commenced on 18 November 2023 from the northern town of Manjeswaram would conclude at the capital city on December 23 with a massive public meeting.
The chief minister and select ministers would address the public rallies being held along the route. While Pinarayi Vijayan would focus his speeches on global issues and topics of national importance, the ministers would portray the ‘great work’ done as per the directives of the chief minister to elevate Kerala as the most socially, economically and culturally advanced State among the comity of nations.
“This is a historic journey as Kerala has not seen a programme like this in the past. Once the journey concludes at Thiruvananthapuram, the historians would be forced to rewrite the State’s history as Kerala Before the Sadass and Kerala after the Sadass”, said E P Jayarajan, convenor of the LDF and former industries minister (2016-2021). He asserted that since Pinarayi Vijayan took over as chief minister, Kerala has become a role model for the developed world. “It is all because of Pinarayi Vijayan who is the undisputed global leader,” said Jayarajan.
The luxury bus transporting the chief minister and his colleagues cost the exchequer Rs 2 crore. There were charges made by the opposition leaders that it was a waste of public money by a government which has not paid pension to employees and salary to workers in public sector undertakings. “The ire of the Opposition is a case of bitter grapes. Once the journey is over, the bus, named as Cabinet Bus, will be displayed in a museum and there will be millions of people turning up to watch this historical bus,” said A K Balan, former minister (2016-2021) and member of the central committee of the CPI-M.
Political commentator Jayashankar terms the comments by Jayarajan and Balan as reflections of the simmering groupism in the CPI-M. “Both the leaders are upset with Vijayan and his new son-in-law Mohammed Riyas for sidelining them by denying them tickets in the 2021 assembly election. Jayarajan and Balan were frontrunners for the post of member of polit bureau which fell vacant following the demise of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the former party secretary, Vijayan favored M V Govindan, a sidekick for decades, while Jayarajan and Balan had to eat humble pie,” said Jayashankar.
(The writer is a special correspondent with The Pioneer, views are personal)
To be continued...