Thiruvananthapuram: In total disregard for an intensification of agitation by the PSC rank holders, denied jobs in government and affiliated offices, the Pinarayi Vijayan government regularised the service of more temporary staff even as the opposition UDF seeks to make it a top campaign issue in the run-up to the assembly elections.
A cabinet meeting on Monday decided to regularise another 221 temporary employees in various state government establishments, including Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, while creating new posts of medical college teachers and clerical and administrative posts in various government offices.
The Vijayan government, in its last days in office, has mounted a crash programme for what critics describe as backdoor employment to relatives of party functionaries as well as party sympathisers and member of affiliated party outfits.
The government seems to be in a tearing hurry as it wants to complete the task before the notification of the election comes, after which the code of conduct will not allow any such administrative measures.
The latest appointments come amidst protests by the PSC rank holders spreading to different parts of the state while various organisations representing the job seekers staged new symbolic forms of protest.
For instance, the strikers, including women crawled on their knees in the blazing sun from the south gate of the Secretariat to the main venue of protest to register their opposition to the new appointments.
On Sunday, they staged a ritualistic ‘shayana pradakshinam’, which amount to circumambulation by rolling themselves on the floor, a highly regarded penance, particularly in the Hindu temples. There have been several cases of protesters fainting or falling sick.
The protesters won a major moral victory when the Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the regularisation of 1850 temporary hands in the cooperative Kerala Bank. The stay was issued on a petition by the PSC rank holders. The bank’s board of directors was scheduled to meet on Tuesday to approve the appointments.
Earlier, the state cooperative department had returned the proposal to regularise the posts on the ground that even the basic procedures were not followed in recommending the appointments. It was also discovered that the bank had forwarded the recommendations without studying the financial implications for the organisation or without seeking approval from the registrar of cooperative societies.
Opposition parties are embarrassing the ruling CPI-M by citing parallels with a similar agitation being run by the party in West Bengal against the ‘backdoor’ appointments of Mamata Banerjee’s TMC government.