CPM stops vilifying job seekers, instead whips up fears of Congress-induced violence

CPM state secretary A Vijayaraghavan
CPM state secretary A Vijayaraghavan

Initially, the CPM and its youth wing, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), had attempted to discredit the PSC rank holders agitating before the Secretariat saying they were mere tools, puppets, in the hands of the Congress. When this made the agitators more determined and angry, the CPM has now changed tack.

The CPM now refrains from questioning the justness of the rank holders' cause but paints them as unwitting victims of an evil Congress scheme to let loose violence all over Kerala in the name of the educated unemployed.

The CPM state secretary, A Vijayaraghavan, said on Tuesday that the Congress and its youth wing, the Youth Congress, were using the job seekers' agitation to incite riots across Kerala. “They are trying to prevent the LDF from returning to power by unleashing riots all over Kerala,” Vijayaraghavan said during a press conference at Thalassery, Kannur, as part of the LDF's North Zone rally in Kannur.

Vijayaraghavan was echoing what DYFI state secretary A A Rahim said on February 15. Rahim said it was with ulterior motives that the Youth Congress had begun its agitation right adjacent to the agitation site of the rank holders in front of the Secretariat. “Their objective is to provoke the police and induce a clash that they know will spread to the protest venue of the rank holders. They want to generate pictures of job aspirants bleeding from their heads," Rahim said.

The Congress is unlikely to be deterred. The party, which looked woefully unarmed on the eve of the elections, has held on to the rank holders' agitation as if it had got its hand on something solid that could save itself from drowning. Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has become a frequent visitor to the protest venue.

On Tuesday, Chandy also put forward a formula to resolve the crisis. He said the rank list of last grade servants should be extended by one-and-half years. And two, he said the state government should support in Court the arguments of the job aspirants in the civil police officer (CPO) rank list. Both these, in fact, are the major demands raised by the agitating PSC rank holders.

Proetesers fall on Oommen Chandy's feet
Some of the protesting youths fall on former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's feet

The candidates who had found themselves in the latest CPO rank list should consider themselves highly unlucky. The validity of their rank list is just one year; other rank lists have a validity of three years. This is not the trouble as this was always the case. Trouble is, their rank list was practically in force for only four months. Initially, after it was found certain SFI leaders had used illegal means to secure high ranks in the PSC exam, the list was put on hold for four months. Then COVID-19 struck and the list gathered dust for another four months. It remained live only for four months and not many vacancies were reported in this period.

Among the seven CPO rank lists, it was the KAP5 rank list (Idukki battallion) candidates that suffered the most. In their case, the former rank list holders had gone to court and the new list was stayed by the court. The stay got removed just a day before the list's validity ended. Meaning, the Idukki list was live only for a day.

Job aspirants say the government could have anticipated this and extended the validity of their list. The government did not and the list got automatically cancelled. Getting a favourable court order is the only option available.

Youth Congress workers
Youth Congress activists lie on a road in Kochi during a protest against the state government. PTI

As for the last grade servants, the government had earlier extended the list by six months, from February 5 to August 4. Fact is, the list is anyway valid till June 30, and so the extension practically is only for one month and four days. The job aspirants want an assurance from the government that it would extend the list for six months from June 30.

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