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Since the time Pinarayi Vijayan took over as the CM of Kerala last year, the state has witnessed some of the worse forms of Political Violence, deteriorating law and order situation, increasing political corruption, rising unemployment levels and dwindling private investments in the economy. This government has not only failed to live up to the mandate it received from the people of Kerala last year, but has completely sidestepped its duties towards its citizens
In this first year, the report card of this Government paints a very bleak picture. Right from Supreme Court’s rap on the unfair and unjustified removal of an honest DGP and head of Police, 2 Ministers having to resign, unprecedented rise of political violence resulting in the death of 293 people including children and family members of political workers, rise in crimes against women and children, continued illegal encroachment of Forest land in Munnar, the plight of tribal and landless continuing unabated, little or no Private investments or jobs, this government has shown itself to be incompetent on all fronts.
End the Political Violence
CM Vijayan oversees the Home Ministry and must focus on ending the rampant political violence. This spate of increased violence not only has devastating effects on lives of the aggrieved families but has also severely impacted the private investments into the state. Investors don’t want to invest and create jobs in a state that is being perceived as state sponsor of Political violence with no heed or respect for law or individual rights and liberty. 19 persons, including four CPM political workers who were disillusioned by the Marxist ideology were brutally killed by the CPM goons, within 11 months into power.
Political violence may be Marxist ideology and dogma but as the CM he has taken an oath to uphold the law and ensure safety of all citizens. He must put a stop to it and create a healthy law and order situation. Without drastic improvement in state’s law and order, there is no way that the development of Kerala can be revived. The writing on the wall is clear. End is nearing for the outdated, violent Marxist philosophy. As I have said before that the Marxist ideology that enshrines violence, is on its last legs in Kerala and around the world and everyone needs to wake up to that reality
Prevent Radicalization and ISIS growth
Recent reports point to Kerala fast becoming a haven for ISIS operatives. Even good law abiding Muslims feel threatened by the unfettered rise of Radical Islam in our state.
It is shocking to see that 21 out of the 70 youngsters recruited from India by the ISIS are from Kerala. Recently the NIA has arrested a group of ISI men from Kannur, including their division in-charges who were in direct contact with ISI leadership in Syria and Afghanistan.
It is no surprise that the Kerala Police had no clue of any of this or even if they did they could not act as the NIA did. This is a result of Politicizing the Police which is making the situation worse and more dangerous.
The CPM placed Munnar in its election manifesto, promising that all illegal encroachments will see an end. A year has passed and absolutely no action has been taken against the encroachment done in cahoots by the nexus of politicians and businessmen. Instead, the CM and other elected representatives, like the Ministers, MLA, MP etc. from LDF and UDF unite together to intimidate duty bound officials and demoralize them.
Economy and Employment
According to the annual Employment-Unemployment Survey 2017 of the Ministry of Labour, GoI, Kerala State ‘enjoys’ the status of having the largest rate of unemployment at 12.5%, with national average being 5%. To any responsible leader, this should be an alarm bell, spurring him into action against the violence that is keeping investors away. But this CM continues to play the role of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns.
I have met global investors who refuse to even consider Kerala as a destination because of the political violence and crimes that is in the headlines every day. Only investments will create jobs. It is not enough for the Chief Minster to wake up occasionally and say we welcome investments.
The formation of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) targeting Rs 50,000 Crores as investments in 5 years seems to be a move with no vision. No funds have been allocated in the State budget and there is no clarity on where the funds will be sourced from, what would be the returns to investors etc. By Surviving on finances diverted from other government agencies and competing with other similar government agencies - like KSIDC, INKEL, KINFRA, KSIE, KFC, SIDECO etc.- already operating on similar lines, KIIFB is going to be another dud.
This government, like in other aspects of governance has also failed on the important subject of educational reforms. At a time when the nation is turning towards skill-oriented educational systems, Kerala has made no efforts in this regard. They are delicately attempting to protect private managements of the outdated self-financing engineering colleges.
Once known for its punctuality, none of the University examinations are now conducted in time. Kerala Technological University, which came into being to sort-out catastrophe in engineering education is stuck with no clarity on issues of affiliation, command over institutions, conducting of exams etc.
Hiding Incompetence and Failures by Blaming Central Government
A common practice with Kerala governments, both LDF and UDF has always been to complain against the central government for its ‘step-motherly attitude’ towards the state.
I can’t speak for the past central governments. But this Prime Minister and this Government is by far the most committed to Kerala in recent years. Apart from nominating two MPs from the state, it is clear from various central program allocations that the PM is very keen to ensure Kerala joins the mainstream states in terms of a sustainable development model.
In recent weeks the CM has trained his guns on me, perhaps hoping to intimidate me. That is of course not going to happen. Many have tried during my 11 years in Politics and all have failed. There is a recent pathetic effort to try and arrest me. I dare Pinarayi Vijayan to do that. Come arrest me. I neither get scared easily nor stray from my path due to threats and intimidation. My politics and public work is based on clear principles and objectives of development and equity.
Our state and our people deserve better than what we have seen in the last year. The state and its people cannot afford another 4 years of the same. I may have my political differences with the CM and his Government , but am convinced that we must all work together to revive our state. Our politics needs to be transformed for the State’s full potential to be unleashed. Each and every community can and must aspire to and get their share of the economic and political progress of Kerala. I hope the CM changes from the politics of confrontation to one of constructive rebuilding of our state’s economy and Governance.
This article appeared in Times of India on May 25, 2017