8 things Pinarayi Vijayan must do for Kerala
Chief minister should use this historic opportunity to focus on some key parameters.
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While a Left win in Kerala was predictable, considering the state’s tryst with change every five years, the scope of the victory surprised many. It has now become clear that the mandate the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has got in Kerala – 91 out of 140 seats – was not just to root out the allegedly corrupt, but also a consolidation of minority votes in favour of the LDF.Pinarayi Vijayan with CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The mandate comes with a huge responsibility on chief minister designate Pinarayi Vijayan’s shoulders to deliver growth in a state which has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. Vijayan should use this historic opportunity to focus on some key parameters:
Kerala is getting a respite from the predictable "education politics" of the UDF, where an alliance partner was offered the ministry as if by default, and subsequently goofed up every time.
The state, high in literacy, is unfortunately hostage to the so-called commercialisation of education, the money that changes hands for staff appointments and seats, and the overall disconnect between learning and education. Vijayan should bring in those with progressive ideas to handle this crucial portfolio.
The so-called Kerala model of development boasted of high standards in primary healthcare facilities. That's waning, and fast. And private hospitals fleece patients to no extent. This should change.
Outgoing chief minister Oomen Chandy is credited with moves to improve infrastructure. This work should continue, time-bound, making full use of the Centre's aid in this regard. The metro, highways, Vizhinjam port, and SmartCity are low-hanging fruits to be pursued.
Kerala needs jobs, especially in the light of tougher norms on work permits in the Gulf. The new government should get cracking on ventures that are easier to set up - in services like IT, retail, tourism, in food processing and encourage start-ups.
Above all, implement tough labour norms, where no staff who plays truant at work is encouraged. It should keep trade union demands limited to real, genuine cases, if it wants to attract investors into the state.
Keep a hotline with Centre
Make sure to utilise all of the assured resources, and ask for more. Be flexible in dialogue, except in the case of the environment. That lovely strip of land has to be taken care of, and development has to be totally in harmony with its flora and fauna.
Settle the cases that dogged the previous government, sure and fast. Punish the guilty, and end the endless debates on solar, Saritha, bar bribery and so on.
Vijayan should be able to rein in his own party cadre, and advice restraint and humility in the face of such a resounding victory. Already, the BJP has escalated the clashes between their workers and the Left in the state to a national level, even meeting the President in this regard.
While the former’s party workers could equally be blamed for initiating this violence, as pointed out by CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, no time should be lost to ease tensions between the cadres of both parties.
Last but not the least, re-evaluate the bar policy. Provide safe liquor in clean, hygienic settings to those who want to pay for it. Don't punish the Malayali any more by making him stand in long queues in front of government beverage shops. The policy hasn't worked and Malayalis drink just as much as earlier, if not more!
So, here’s raising a toast to the new government.