Nava Kerala Sadas concludes amidst intense protests; CM Vijayan targets Centre, Congress


PTI, Dec 24, 2023, 9:10 AM IST

The 36-day-long Nava Kerala Sadas, an ambitious outreach programme of the Left government in the state, drew to a close here on Saturday amidst intense statewide protests staged by opposition Congress, BJP and their youth outfits.

The Sadas, which began in the northernmost constituency of Manjeswsram in Kasaragod district on December 18, was culminated at Vattiyoorkkavu in the state capital with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressing a massive crowd.

The CM and his cabinet colleagues travelled across the 140 assembly constituencies in the state in a specially-designed bus addressing the public, listening to their grievances and showcasing the achievements of the state.

As the opposition Congress-led UDF boycotted the event alleging it was an extravagance and an election campaign ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, its legislators didn’t take part in the Sadas in respective districts.

Marking the culmination of the outreach programme, Vijayan hit out at the UDF and the BJP-headed Union government, accusing them of causing hurdles in the development of the state.

While the Centre is trying to scuttle the progress of Kerala, the Congress leadership in the state has adopted a stand not to oppose them, Vijayan alleged.

He accused many prominent leaders of the state Congress leadership of making personal interventions and statements in favour of the ”Sangh Parivar” in recent times.

”At a time when the state is going through such a tough time, the Congress has been reluctant to say anything criticising the BJP-led Union government,” Vijayan said.

He also asked whether any of the Congress-UDF MPs dared to question the Centre about the discrimination it was showing to the state.

Further criticising the decision of the UDF to boycott the outreach event, Vijayan accused the opposition of unleashing widespread violence to mar the programme.

”They deliberately tried to create provocation in society…but we requested the public to show restraint and they accepted it wholeheartedly,” he said.

Targeting the Congress leadership, Vijayan said they made provocative speeches to unleash violence in society, but their intention had failed.

He also alleged that the Congress would do anything for the sake of just a few votes.

Later in a statement, he said the state cabinet has completed its journey from northernmost constituency Manjeswsram to southernmost Parassala in 36 days.

”The Nava Kerala Sadas has become a unique chapter in the history of democratic governance,” he said.

The Left veteran said through the initiative, the government sought public support to move forward implementing various development programmes to ensure the progress of the state.

The massive public participation was the proof of the grand success of the initiative, the CM added.

The southern state also witnessed unprecedented protest incidents after the beginning of the Nava Kerala Sadas.

As the opposition boycotted the programme, its youth outfits staged black flag protests throughout the CM’s journey. The assault unleashed by the activists of the CPI(M)’s Democratic Youth Federation of India and the security personnel of the CM against the protesting Kerala Students Union and Youth Congress workers triggered a widespread controversy.

The support extended by the chief minister towards the DYFI activists and his security personnel further intensified the agitation. Cases registered against media personnel over covering protest incidents also triggered a row.

The BJP’s youth wing Yuva Morcha also staged black flag protests in various places during the outreach programme.

The state capital turned into a battlefield on Saturday, as the Congress, BJP and Yuva Morcha workers clashed with police in various places for staging protests against the outreach programme.

The use of tear gas shells by police personnel near the venue where senior MPs and MLAs of the Congress were taking part in the protest march to the DGP office caused a tense situation in the state capital for hours.

Several elected members suffered from breathlessness and discomfort and some were shifted to hospitals by the party workers.

The BJP’s protest march near the Nava Kerala Sadas venue in Poojappura and the Yuva Mocha’s Secretariat march were blocked by police.

A protest staged by a group of activists of the RYF, the youth wing of the opposition party RSP, inside the Secretariat complex, ‘shocked’ the security personnel on the final day of the event.

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