The seventh session of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly began on a stormy note on Monday, with the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition disrupting the House and staging a walkout, citing nepotism in government appointments.
UDF members trooped into the well of the House, accusing the ruling front of lording over a legacy of preferential treatment for Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] nominees in postings in municipalities, government missions, public sector units, and State-funded universities.
Seeking leave of the House for an adjournment motion in the House to debate alleged backdoor appointments via the CPI(M) route, Congress legislator P.C. Vishnunath highlighted the purported letter allegedly written by Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Arya Rajendran to the CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan, ‘intimating’ the latter about 295 vacancies in municipality-run public health centres.
Mr. Vishnunath alleged that the Mayor played a cruel joke on her constituents by packing off to New Delhi to join a national protest against nepotism in Central government appointments.
Local Self-government Institutions (LSGI) Minister M.B. Rajesh said the UDF’s ‘vicious character assassination’ campaign against the Mayor was all lies and half-truths. The Mayor had written no such letter. The questionable document was fake. Moreover, the LDF government’s track record as a State employer was the best in the country.
‘Not a fake document’
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said infighting in the CPI(M) over sharing the spoils from backdoor appointments had caused the ‘incriminating letter’ to surface in the public domain. “It is not a fake document conjured up from thin air by the Opposition,” he said.
Mr. Satheesan accused the government of throwing the meritocratic ideal to the wind to favour CPI(M)-sponsored candidates. He said, the LDF had, on paper, sent appointments in PSUs to the PSC. However, in actuality, the government had not framed special rules to implement the decision, leaving a window for CPI(M) satraps to insert their relatives into State-run institutions.
The CPI(M)‘s stranglehold over government appointments has led to the patience of lakhs of unemployed youth wearing thin. Speaker A.N. Shamsheer rejected the Opposition’s motion and adjourned the House for the day.