Only PR work in Kerala, with an eye on elections: Congress

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 11 (IANS) The Congress has alleged that the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala is engaged in only a PR exercise and is least bothered about bringing back people who are stranded in various parts of the country.

Speaking to the media here on Monday, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it has now surfaced that the Indian Railways has run more than 366 trains from various locations in the country.

“It’s really unfortunate that not a single train came into Kerala when thousands of students, women and others have been stranded since the lockdown began in various states in the country. They are waiting to return to their home state,” said Chennithala.

“This clearly shows how callous is the Vijayan administration here. The only thing today that happens is a very high profile PR exercise going on by the US based PR and Marketing firm Sprinklr and is focussed on the upcoming elections. No plan of action is there, as every day thousands are waiting to return and hundreds of them are stranded at the six entry points of our state,” added Chennithala.

According to the state authorities, over two lakh Keralites who have been stranded inside the country have registered on the Norka-Roots web portal, seeking entry passes.

At Kochi, four Congress lawmakers expressed their ire at the way entry passes are being given on a selective basis.

Senior legislator V.D. Sateeshan said everyday what one hears here are new rules that are being announced by the state government with regard to the return of the people within the country and about their isolation protocol.

“Our mobiles are ringing non-stop from people in our constituency and district pleading for help to see that they are able to return. We are helpless as there seems to be no standard procedure,” said Satheeshan.

Another legislator P.T. Thomas said it appears some districts in the state have one set of rules for entry passes, while other districts have another.

“While many came from even hotspots and red zones from outside the state to some southern districts, very few residents from this district have got an entry pass. People are able to get entry pass from where they are now, but are unable to get it from their home state,” said Thomas.

Veteran parliamentarian P.K. Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League who led a protest of his party leaders in front of the Kozhikode district collectorate, saying that nothing is on track when it came to bringing people who are waiting in nearby states.

“The Vijayan government is claiming to have set up isolation centres for over 2 lakh people. So far here not even 1000 have come and it’s utter chaos with regard to bringing in people from the check posts,” said former state minister and senior IUML legislator M.K. Muneer.

The Congress leaders pointed out that with the fresh schedules of railways coming out, none now needs the help of the Kerala government to return.

“Vijayan is now spending all his energy on PR campaigns to fetch a UN award. Everyone who knows Kerala in-depth knows that the hard work of 21 former chief ministers before Vijayan is the reason why Kerala has been able to handle the pandemic well,” said Chennithala.

–IANS
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