Kasaragod: A day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tried to drive a wedge between allies Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) over boycotting of the Nava Kerala Sadas, a senior leader of the IUML leader attended his meeting in Kasaragod Sunday morning.
The presence of N A Aboobacker (71), the state council member of the IUML, at the prominent citizens' meeting with the Chief Minister, sent a section of political reporters from the capital into a tizzy. "Though the Opposition has boycotted Nava Kerala Sadas, Muslim League members and leaders are attending the event," a TV reporter from Thiruvananthapuram asked the Chief Minister in a press conference after he met the prominent citizens of Kasaragod.
"Is there an internal conflict within the Muslim League over the boycott," asked another TV reporter.
"Kasaragod's Muslim League MLA N A Nellikkunnu said his heart is with the Chief Minister and he wanted to have food with him but he is staying away because of the political decision," asked another reporter who is on a first name basis with the Chief Minister.
Pinarayi Vijayan latched on to those questions, particularly because the CPM is trying hard to woo the IUML to the LDF fold from the Congress-led UDF. "The people are coming together with the same emotions. So naturally, I am expecting their participation," said Pinarayi Vijayan.
"Have you thought of the mental conflict being suffered by the MLAs who have to stay away from the Sadas? A place where thousands of their constituents gather, though they have the opportunity, they could not go. How sad they must be!" said the Chief Minister.
On Nellikkunu, the chief minister said, "His family members must be asking him why are you not going (to Nava Kerala Sadas). This has become a talking point in their families. The situation is their children, wife, and mother are asking them," he said and added that the Congress and UDF MLAs are suffering because of the wrong decision of the Congress leadership to boycott Nava Kerala Sadas.
When contacted, Nellikkunnu said that a particular reporter tried to get a quote favouring Nava Kerala Sadas. "But I told him that I have a good personal relationship with the Chief Minister and other ministers. So when they came to Kasaragod, I should have met them. But here, personal relationship has no space. My party and my Front have decided to boycott Kerala Sadas. That decision supersedes my personal relationship," he said. "They tried hard to make me say I want to go to the Sadas."
'I want to share my sorrow'
N A Aboobacker, a senior IUML leader, said he went to meet the Chief Minister because his government was not listening to the people of his area, Nayanmarmoola, 4km from the New Bus Stand in Kasaragod town, on the National Highway. People of Nayanmarmoola pitched a tent on the highway and protesting for a flyover for the past five months, he said. "No one has given them an ear," he said.
The 1-km stretch from Kasaragod Government College to Nayanmarmoola is the busiest stretch after Kasaragod town. "There are nine higher secondary schools, a university campus, and a college. Together, 25,000 students are studying in these institutions," he said.
However, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has planned a cattle underpass (CUP) by raising a huge wall that cuts off the town into two, he said. It will only aggravate the traffic jam. "The service road now has space only for one KSRTC bus to pass by. In other places, the service road is two-lane," he said.
People are demanding a flyover from the Government College to Nayanmarmoola, which will also cover several government offices, including the Collectorate, he said.
Aboobacker owns five colleges and five schools, including Thanbeehul Islam Higher Secondary School in Kasaragod, where there are 6,500 students. "I went to the Chief Minister to raise the troubles faced by students daily. If the Chief Minister puts his heart to the problem, he can find a solution," he said.
Aboobacker said when he went to the venue, the District Collector gave me a seat close to the Chief Minister. "When my turn came, I started by saying I have a sorrow to share..." he said.
But the Chief Minister might have heard what the reporters asked him