Amid oppn’s criticism, Pinarayi Vijayan’s statewide bus tour begins

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 18 (IANS) As Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday began statewide bus tour to reach out to the people in 140 assembly constituencies along with his cabinet colleagues, the Congress and the BJP once again criticised him for “extravagance” when the the people in the state are going through their worst times.

The Congress-led UDF and the BJP have boycotted the event.

The trip that started from Manjeswaram, the northern tip of the state, is scheduled to end on December 24 in the state capital. Vijayan and his cabinet ministers boarded the bus from the Guest House they were resting and drove to their first meeting venue.

Speaking after lighting the lamp, the chief minister said: “Kerala has been on a fast paced growth since 2016 and had we not retained power in 2021, things would have gone awry, as prior to 2016, people in the state were not happy.”

“We won more seats in 2021 (99) and that was because the people of Kerala understood what we did from 2016 to 2021. At the meeting, it was the Chief Secretary who spoke as this is full-fledged government programme, while the Congress and its legislator (Opposition MLA from the IUML) from here should have taken part in this programme as we are building a new Kerala,” he said.

On the criticism the bus they are travelling in has drawn, the chief minister said: “After travelling on it for a while, we could not find what is being spread. So I invite the media to enter the bus after we all sit, so you will know what this bus is all about and what the news was being spread.”

The bus remodeled at a cost of Rs 1.05 crore invited the loudest criticism as veteran Congress legislator Ramesh Chennithala said: “Chief minister Vijayan knows that he has not reached out to the people after he took over in 2016 and now with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he knows where he stands and is trying to take people for a ride through his bus ride, as we are going to win all the 20 Lok Sabha seats.”

State BJP president K. Surendran said this “extravagance” by chief minister Vijayan is taking place at a time when farmers are committing suicides and people are reeling under price rise.

Taking a pot shot at CPI(M) central committee member A. K. Balan, who said that this bus even before it hit the road has been getting offers to be purchased and went on to say, if this bus is going to be placed in the museum for its intrinsic value, lakhs of people will come to see it, Surendran said if this is the way things are going forward, very soon to see the CPI(M) , one will have to go to the museum.

“This trip is unwarranted as people from all walks of life are suffering and Vijayan and the cabinet is on a pleasure trip. All knows that this is nothing but a launch of the election campaign to the upcoming Lok Sabha polls,” said Surendran.

Till December 23rd, chief minister Vijayan and his ministers will be travelling on this bus during the day time and reach out to people in four Assembly constituencies and in the night, they will sleep at Government Guest Houses.

Not to give the weekly-cabinet meetings a miss, the ministers will meet every Wednesday while traversing through 140 Assembly constituencies, making the bus, a cabinet on wheels.



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