Straight Bat: Jayarajan Blunder - Is The CM Not Responsible?
On Oct 17, 2016
Industries minister E P Jayarajan officially resigned from his post on Friday. While this has brought cheers to detractors of the now former minister, in reality what it has revealed is the ineptness of Pinarayi Vijayan as state Chief Minister. The move to sack Jayarajan may prove a blunder to the ruling LDF and to Vijayan personally. It has shattered the mystique of the first-time CM and has exposed him as a flop of a supremo running the premier office of the state. Many facts underline this.
His Victory In Elections Was Controversial
Pinarayi Vijayan scored a huge victory during the state elections winning from Dharmadom with a margin of over 80,000 votes. While that is impressive, the fact is that there were allegations of party workers indulging in malpractices to assure victory for the future CM. The allegations were never proved true, nor proved false. While Pinarayi would have won anyway, those actions by loyalists cast a question mark on the integrity of the CM. If the victory was assured then what was the motive? Did he want a unanimous, unchallenged victory? Then he could be termed greedy, overly obsessed with a larger than life image and a reluctance to accept critics, a reflection of his and in general CPM's stand of 'either join us or be labelled as enemy' policy. There is no room for criticism, even healthy ones. It is relevant here to note that the public had never rallied behind Pinarayi during polls. They did so to V S Achuthanandan. Pinarayi Vijayan was never people's choice for CM. He was the party's choice.
He Prefers Blame Game Over Clear-Cut Solution
Yes, he does. The most commonly recurring issue that has haunted the young LDF Government ever since it took charge is the ongoing violence in Kannur. And every time Vijayan has only one answer; he alleges the RSS of instigating violence. While that may be true, it does not relieve him of his task of doing something about it, especially when CPM forms the other half of the ugly problem. To this day no concrete steps have been taken. This unceremonious trait of his is reflected in his handling of Jayarajan issue as well. It is highly doubtful that Vijayan had no knowledge of what Jayarajan was pulling off. If indeed he was unaware of it, then it begs the question if the Chief Minister is not even aware of what his cabinet colleagues are doing how aware is he about the requirements of an entire state? And it was Vijayan’s choice to have Jayarajan as minister. So when Jayarajan did wrong, how come the blame is solely on him? What Vijayan did was not noble; he sacked Jayarajan to save the face of the government and thereby his own, when he is as much to blame on this issue as is Jayarajan.
One of the first decisions made by the Pinarayi Government was to unceremoniously dump the then Vigilance director Senkumar and give the post to Jacob Thomas. When Jacob Thomas unleashed raids on former excise minister K Babu, Vijayan boldly stated that he had no part in the decision and that the Vigilance director didn't require his permission to do what was right. Then, what happened with the Jayarajan issue? Not only did the Vigilance director not take any action even when the issue came into a public platform, but Jacob Thomas ordered QV only after discussing it with CM, after CM secured resignation letter from his colleague. Why CM, why?
Contempt For Media
Now, no one is saying the current media is a noble institution. It is anything but. Still it remains a fact that a free functioning media forms the staple of a democratic system. Vijayan can love media or hate it, but as the chief minister, he can never avoid them, much less hold them in contempt. Even Narendra Modi, who is famously averse to media hustles, knows it to be a necessary evil and supports it every time a need arises. But Pinarayi has openly accused the media of staging a drama to put him in bad light, which in effect means he sees media as enemy. Why? Media personnel are still banned at courts and are attacked by lawyers. Yet the CM of the state is powerless to stop it. Or is he? The contempt that Vijayan holds for media exposes the authoritarian character of a party secretary, a far cry from the consensus-seeking one of a democratic leader that is the requirement of a good chief minister.
He Is Yet To Make Impact As Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy, in his first year as CM did two things - Mass Contact Programme and Emerging Kerala. Both turned out to be mere eyewash. But it did make an impact. Pinarayi Vijayan has thankfully restrained from carrying out any such gimmicks. The problem is he has not done anything at all worthy of being called impactful. The liquor policy is still unclear, Vizhinjam project lags on, tax collection is still muddled in corruption and clearly there are no signs of overall situation getting better anytime soon. And above all the CM never has anything to say about any of these issues. The worrying part of his silence is not of someone who talks less and works more, it is of someone who thinks himself above all things. At least that's the aura he has created and it is his fault as a public figure that he is doing nothing to change it.
After the historic win in elections, there were huge expectations from the LDF to deliver. It hasn't delivered, and as much as he puts the blame on others, the chief minister is directly responsible for it.
Madan Sivadasan D (MSD)
Contributor to Yentha. He lives in Kochi but his heart beats for his home town Trivandrum. Absolutely no ambiguity on his views or in his writings.