KERALA

Kerala: solemn start to golden jubilee celebrations

Special Correspondent

EMS Ministry, the harbinger of fundamental changes in Kerala society: Governor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Celebrations to mark the golden jubilee of unified Kerala's first elected Government got off to a solemn start here on Thursday with Governor R.L. Bhatia describing the 1957-59 E.M.S. Namboodiripad Government the harbinger of fundamental changes in Kerala society and polity.

Memories of the day on which Kerala embarked on its historic journey on the road of democratic governance came alive as nine members of the 1957-59 Assembly, Ministers in the present Left Democratic Front Cabinet, members of the present Kerala Assembly, cultural leaders and people from different walks of life gathered in the old Assembly hall in the State Secretariat complex, where the first session of the Kerala Legislative Assembly was held, for the formal inauguration of the jubilee celebrations.

Earlier, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his Cabinet colleagues and MLAs offered floral tributes at the Martyrs' Column here. Leaders of the Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front were conspicuous by their absence from the function. The Opposition is boycotting the month-long golden jubilee celebrations terming it "politically motivated" and "a waste of money."

Inaugurating the celebrations, the Governor said the 1957 Cabinet was the best that the State had ever had and EMS was an administrator of rare prowess and a leader whose simplicity was comparable to that of Gandhiji. Kerala owed a lot to the first Government for the high social development, comparable to international standards, that the State had achieved.

Presiding over the function, the Chief Minister said his Government was committed to making the State self-sufficient in vegetable, milk and egg production and in providing houses to two lakh families in the coming two years,Mr.Achuthanandan said. Offering felicitations, Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said the 1957-59 Assembly had made history by enacting as many as 88 Bills during the 28 months of its existence. The first Government was one with tremendous political will and laid the foundation for the many achievements that Kerala had made later, he said.

The Governor presented mementoes to members of the first Kerala Assembly Rosamma Punnoose, P. Govinda Pillai, R. Prakasam, Neelakantaru Pandarathil, R. Balakrishna Pillai, E. Chandrasekharan Nair, K. Sivadasan, Maleth Gopinathan Nair and Kalyanakrishnan Nair at the function.