No doubt, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has created history by becoming the first to retain power, but ahead of the beginning of his second innings, murmurs have begun, if he needs to go for a ‘grand’ swearing-in ceremony, when the state is going through tough times, not to mention that the capital is among the four districts where the triple lockdown norms are in force till Sunday.
The swearing-in will take place in a makeshift 70,000 sq feet space pandal which is fast coming up at the Central Stadium, next to the State Secretariat, on Thursday.
Each time when Vijayan is asked by the media about the expected number of people who will be invited, he says he will say about all such things at the appropriate time. However, unconfirmed reports say around 700 people are expected, given the size of the makeshift space coming up for the swearing-in.
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Supreme Court counsel M.R. Abhilash said, on the one hand, Vijayan advises all to stay indoors and only if there is an extreme emergency one should venture out as the triple lockdown is the need of the hour after Covid spread like wildfire in the state.
“He says for weddings and funerals only the bare minimum people are allowed, but we all saw he himself broke the rules when he was seen at three funerals. He should be the role model and lead by example. And now we hear that his swearing-in is going to be in the presence of a big gathering. Is it right, for him to do it,” asked Abilash.
The social media is abuzz with many expressing their displeasure on the way Vijayan is going ahead as to when in his routine daily Covid press briefings, he announced the decision to go ahead with very tough protocols asking all to maintain social distancing even inside homes, and the practice of public sharing of space at homes like engaging in family prayers should be discontinued and instead, pray in one’s respective rooms.
Economist Mary George said, just look at the money that’s being spent on erecting such a huge place for the swearing-in.
“What was the need for Vijayan to go in for a makeshift temporary place, when the function could have been held at the Raj Bhavan, with very limited numbers. None should forget that to pay the salaries and pension in March, the state had to borrow Rs 1,000 crore. He should not have gone for this when the state’s finances are precariously placed,” said George.
Meanwhile, demands have come up that Vijayan should rather use the huge massive swearing-in space for the vaccination center.
Cries have also come in asking Vijayan to follow how Mamata Banerjee was sworn in and also the way the recent swearing-in ceremony of Supreme Court Chief Justice N.V. Ramana took place.
Former Tamil Nadu chief secretary P.C. Cyriac said it’s unfortunate to see the way Vijayan is doing things.
“He could have easily set the perfect example, especially when the state is passing through the worst of time. Just look into the number of staff that Vijayan has. Even though this is the same when the Congress rules the state, when the state’s finances are bad, instead of hiring staff from the party, he should appoint state government employees in his staff and maybe one or two others can be appointed,” said Cyriac.
Meanwhile, with the protest now getting louder, all eyes are on Vijayan if he would go by public sentiments and hold the function with the bare minimum audience.
But, those who know Vijayan are, however, keeping their fingers crossed. (IANS/KB)