‘Keraleeyam’, the much hyped fest organised by the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala in connection with state formation day of November 1, seems to be bringing more badwill than goodwill to the government owing to back-to-back criticisms and setbacks.
Amidst widespread criticisms of extravaganza at the time of financial crunches, Mariyakutty and Annamma, two 85 year old women hailing from Idukki district, had begged on the streets the other day lamenting over widow pension dues. On Friday Mariyakutty alleged that CPM cadres were threatening them for causing damage to the government.
Welfare pensions of Rs. 1,600 per month to around 62 lakh people are due for nearly four months.
The Kerala High Court had also made a critical comment the other day that addressing the difficulties of people needs to be given priority rather than conducting celebrations. The remarks came after the Kerala government cited acute financial crunches as reason for delaying various payments, including salaries and pensions to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation employees.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been defending the criticisms over financial crunches by accusing the centre of curtailing allocations to the state.
The left-front government also faced much criticisms over allegations that people from tribal communities were made ‘show pieces’ at ‘Keraleeyam’ by making them remain in their traditional attire for hours at exhibition of tribal art forms. Even as the Chief Minister clarified that the tribal people were taking rest after performing their traditional dances, critics point out that the artists who perform other artforms like classical dances are given better facilities.
Even as the seven day event was organised with the stated objective of highlighting Kerala’s achievements since its formation in 1956, there was widespread criticism that achievements from 2016, the first term of Pinarayi Vijayan as Chief Minister, was more projected during the event.
According to political analyst Joseph C Mathew, the timing of the event as well as the targeted viewers adds meat to the criticisms that the event had vested political interests.
“The targeted viewers of the event seemed to be the voters of Kerala and not any investors from other parts who could invest in Kerala by seeing the exhibitions. Moreover, there was more projection for various achievements since 2016, which was an obvious attempt to project Pinarayi Vijayan. The major event was also organised at a time when the state is facing acute financial crunches,” he said.
The opposition Congress in Kerala had boycotted the event alleging that it was aimed at a political campaign of the left-front at government’s expense ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
(Published 10 November 2023, 17:17 IST)