Kasaragod: Kasaragod Collector Inbasekar Kalimuthu cancelled the holiday on Sunday, November 19, for government employees of the district and directed them to attend the Nava Kerala Sadas -- the LDF government's outreach programme to announce its achievements to the public.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his ministers would be touring all 140 constituencies of the state. In Kasaragod district, Nava Kerala Sadas would be held in Manjeshwar constituency on Saturday, and in Kasaragod, Kanhangad, Udma and Trikaripur constituencies on Sunday.
The Collector in an order issued on Tuesday, November 14, said the district heads of all departments should issue orders assigning duties to their respective employees at the Nava Kerala Sadas in their constituencies. "All employees should attend these events and the district heads should ensure their participation," Ibasekar Kalimuthu said in his order. "Because of that, November 19, Sunday, will be a working day for all government offices in the district," it said.
The district heads of the departments should assign duties at Nava Kerala Sadas to the employees before November 16 and provide a copy of the action taken report to the Collector's Office, said the order.
Congress district president P K Faisal said the LDF government was misusing its powers by declaring a holiday as a working day. "First of all, Nava Kerala Sadas in a CPM's event organised at the expense of taxpayers' money ahead of the Lok Sabha election. On top of that, they are forcing all government employees to attend it and cancelling holidays for it. It cannot be accepted at all," he said.
BJP state secretary K Shreekanth said the government was issuing an order to ensure crowds at the events. "People have rejected Nava Kerala Sadas because on the one hand, the government has not given social welfare pensions and benefits to the people and on the other hand, it is going ahead with such extravagant events when it is in a financial crisis," he said.
The government is forcing cooperative societies and local bodies to shell out money and pressurising members of Kudumbashree and workers of the rural job guarantee scheme to participate in the event. "This cannot be accepted," he said.
On Monday, CPM leader and vice-president of Ulliyeri grama panchayat in Kozhikode N M Balaraman threatened to remove members from the muster roll of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) if they do not attend the LDF's Nava Kerala Sadas programme.
After his voice message sent to the WhatsApp group of Kudumbashree became public, he backtracked. He told reporters that the voice message was sent to inform everyone about the importance of the programme and that it was not a threat. He said there is no government instruction to take action against those who do not participate in the programme.
BJP's Kasaragod district president Ravish Tantri Kuntar said earlier the government had threatened Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) with strict action if they did not attend the Nava Kerala Sadas. "ASHA workers affiliated with the BJP will not attend the event. We will legally fight their case if the government moves against them," said Kuntar.