A fond and emotional farewell was accorded to Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar, who is laying down office, at the VJT Hall here on Wednesday.
Organised by the Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC), the acceptance of Mr. Vijayakumar as an administrator was well reflected what with the packed audience including a phalanx of his Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, top sports administrators, coaches, and athletes besides the general public.
Inaugurating the function, Speaker K. Radhakrishnan highlighted the zeal and commitment with which the Minister worked for the promotion of sports in the State through the last five years. “Had I the power, I would not hesitate to appoint Mr. Vijayakumar as Sports Minister of the State for life,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said.
The Speaker presented a gold medallion and citation to Mr. Vijayakumar on behalf of the KSSC. He also released a book, Kayika Keralam – Swarnamudragal, penned by the Minister himself on the various initiatives undertaken by the LDF government over the last five years and his personal insight on how Kerala sport should traverse in the coming years.
Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K. Chandrika, in her presidential address, chose to portray the various qualities with which Mr. Vijayakumar endeared himself to the public at large. “You can never see a much simpler person in public life, honest and committed to the cause of the people. That he has brought in several new initiatives for the betterment of our sports scene goes without saying and his work, I am sure, will be judged by generations to come.”
Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran; Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran; Ports and Youth Affairs Minister V. Surendran Pillai; and Devaswom Minister Ramachandran Kandannapally also paid rich encomiums to their Cabinet colleague, who had opted out of the polls to the 13th Kerala Assembly held on April 13.
Mementoes were also presented to the Minister by the various district sports councils, State and district sports associations.
In his reply, Mr. Vijayakumar said the success of the various programmes undertaken by the government over the last five years was the result of the sincere and dedicated work put in by a lot of people.
“Of course, I was just the team leader, but the credit should go to all those who formed part of my team.” The Minister also singled out Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan for praise for the unstinted support that he offered for the various programmes of the Sports Department.
Mr. Vijayakumar also mentioned the support received from Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Education Minister M.A. Baby. “Without the support of my colleagues and the Chief Minister, I could not have even dreamt of taking up such initiatives like the National Games and the integration of sports into the curriculum.”
KSSC president T.P. Dasan welcomed the gathering. The KSSC special award for MLAs, who had spent the most from their Local Area Development fund towards sports promotion in their constituencies, T.N. Prathapan (Nattika), M.J. Jacob (Piravom), Adoor Prakash (Konni), A.K. Saseendran (Balussery) and E.S. Bijimol (Peerumade), was presented at the function.