Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Left government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the continuing protest by a section of PSC rank holders in front of the state secretariat and claimed jobs were available in Kerala only for CPI(M) workers.
Gandhi paid a surprise visit to the agitating jobseekers fuelling the protests that has put the ruling LDF government in a spot in Kerala.
The former Congress president listened to their grievances and spent half an hour at the protest site. He also visited the Youth Congress leaders who have been holding a hunger strike over the PSC rank list row.
Gandhi said the chief minister was not ready to discuss matters with the protesters who are on a "hunger strike" demanding jobs but would have held talks if they belonged to the Left parties.
"The left front said they will make Kerala perfect. Question is for whom? Perfect for the people of Kerala or perfect for the CPI(M)? If you are one of their people, every single job is available for you. If you carry their flag, you can engage in smuggling."
You can sit in the CM's office and do that job," Gandhi said at a public meeting as part of the conclusion of the UDF's 'Aishwarya Kerala Yatra.'
Gandhi told the gathering that "if you are a young Keralite, you will have to fight for the job".
"There is only one way to fight nepotism. Hunger strike. But the CM is not going to talk to you. Why? Because you are not from the Left front. I guarantee you, if they were part of the Left party, the CM would have talked to them.
Every single job would have been given to them," Gandhi said.
He alleged that the Left Front government was attacking Congress workers, when they protest in a non-violent manner.
"Don't worry, there are many many Congress workers to fight against them. We are not scared of your violence and the methods. But we will never use them," he said.
A section of rank holders have been protesting since January 26 in front of the state secretariat demanding revival of an expired State PSC rank list.
The Congress and the Youth Congress have also been protesting against the government alleging backdoor appointments after the government had recently regularised the service of many contractual employees who have been in service for more than ten years.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had rejected the Opposition's allegations and said the state has been engaged in launching various developmental activities for the welfare of the people and there was a conspiracy to overshadow these achievements from reaching the common man.
Vijayan had earlier said the protests, led by the Congress, were against the interests of the job aspirants as they were seeking to revive an expired rank list to make appointments.
Congress had earlier demanded that the rank list of Civil Police Officer (CPO), which expired in June 2020, be revived.
Rahul Gandhi, who represents the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in the state, arrived in Kerala on Tuesday. He took part in a public rally at the famed Shangumugham beach in Thiruvananthapuram, at the conclusion of the statewide yatra of the opposition leader and Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala.
Speaking at the event, Gandhi asked why the BJP was not attacking the CPI(M)-led government and "going soft on cases against the CM's office."
"I fight the BJP and the ideology of RSS everyday. The BJP attacks every step of mine. Right now, they are watching this speech, and thinking how they can attack me. I don't understand, why are they going soft on cases against the CM's office. Why is it taking so long."
He said there was only "one reason the BJP is going slow" in these cases which the public can "figure out."
Gandhi also took part in a leaders' meet convened by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) here and urged the participants to ensure that an intense poll campaign is launched ahead of the Assembly elections in Kerala, scheduled to be held in April-May this year.
According to a report, various leaders of the UDF requested Rahul Gandhi to be present in the state to lead the party's poll campaign along with his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
"He (Rahul Gandhi) agreed to the proposal and also requested the leaders to see that special care is taken while selecting the candidates and due weightage is given to the youth and women," IANS quoted an identified source a saying.
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi will meet with fishermen's community at Kollam, located about 70 km from here.