Sunday, August 01, 2021

Will it be Pinarayi Vijayan's last cabinet meeting?

punjabnewsline | April 28, 2021 06:30 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Wednesday in Kerala for several decades is an important day as far as the respective State government is concerned as it's on this day the State cabinet led by the Chief Minister, his cabinet colleagues and the Chief Secretary sit down to take important decisions concerning the state.

And as such, with the election counting day coming up on Sunday, it remains to be seen, if this would be the last cabinet meeting of Vijayan.

However, Vijayan and the Left which he leads are supremely confident that for the first time, the practice of the ruling government bowing out to the Opposition will not happen.

If that be the case then, Wednesday's cabinet meeting won't be Vijayan's last.

Looking back on the way Vijayan functioned, after he took over in 2016, the first thing what he did was to tinker with the tradition of holding the weekly cabinet media briefing, which was in vogue for decades.

It did not come as a surprise for those who knew Vijayan's make up, as he never was the darling of the media, besides made it very clear that he would not entertain TV channels to give a sound byte, when he is on the move from one place to another.

Thus he made it clear, the Chief minister will speak when he wishes to speak and not when the media desires and thus ended both the weekly cabinet briefing and also the practice of giving sound bytes.

And in between on a few occasions, when the media tried to break his guidelines, he showed his true colour and either shooed away or chased the snooping media and each time such a thing happened, it became big news.

However, if one looks into previous records, Vijayan will go down as the Chief Minister who met the media the maximum times in a five year period on account of the Covid pandemic.

Practically every day since the national lockdown came into effect in March last year, Vijayan's press meet was the most watched TV programme, when he came to give the details of the day's lockdown and the number of Covid positive cases in the state.

But here too, everything happened the way he decided and in the hour long daily media address by him, for almost 50 minutes he spoke and the floor was then left open for questions for a maximum of 10 minutes.

He used to promptly put off the mic, when the time was up and he refused to take questions after it, saying, "today's time is up and we will take it up next day," and on many occasions abruptly ended the press conference.

Meanwhile though Vijayan and the Left is absolutely confident that he would return, the Congress led Opposition has dismissed it as nothing but wishful thinking as they say they are all set to return to power.

If that is going to happen, the talk of the town is with Vijayan in all likelihood to become the Leader of Opposition, will he continue to adopt the same principle of shooing away the media, because in Kerala, over the years it's been the Leader of Opposition who gets the maximum air time.

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