Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s much-publicised Kerala Paryadanam began on a sour note in Kollam with Nair Service Society (NSS) boycotting the public outreach programme.
The first in a series of sessions scheduled to be held in various districts and the ideas and suggestions that emerge from the programme would be used to formulate the election strategy of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the upcoming assembly polls.
While around 100 persons, including dignitaries and community leaders attended the event held in Kollam on Tuesday, NSS representatives were conspicuous by their absence.
According to NSS Kollam taluk union president G. Gopakumar, the decision to stay off the programme was taken due to the hostile attitude of the LDF government.
“There are many reasons for not attending the event and most important among them is the stand of the State government regarding reservation for forward communities. Despite the Centre’s decision the LDF government has been trying to implement the reservation in a way that’s not beneficial to the communities,” he told The Hindu.
The government ignoring the long-standing demand of the organisation to declare Mannam Jayanthi a holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act was cited as another reason.
Mr. Gopakumar added that the LDF government’s equation with NSS started changing post the Sabarimala issue. “The stand of the Chief Minister is against believers and Hindus. While he is keen on protecting the religious sentiments of others, Hindus are being neglected which is not acceptable. In the Sabarimala issue, the NSS took a strong stance which irked the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) district leadership said that the programme had participation from all sections and communities. “NSS not attending the event hasn’t come to our notice,” said Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma.
The programme saw attendees from a wide spectrum of society who presented their ideas and demands before the Chief Minister. Most of them pointed out the delay in making Kollam port fully operational as a major block in the development of the district, while projects related to Kollam’s heritage, tourism and traditional industries also came up.
“Steps have been taken to complete the procedures related to emigration clearance and Kollam port will be fully functional soon,” said Ms. Mercykutty Amma.