Thiruvananthapuram, April 16, 2021-
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s dream of taking Kerala to the development status of the Nordic countries is yet to materialise, had it been so, then Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would have been subjected to a heavy fine, similar to what happened to the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.
Solberg was fined 20,000 Norwegian kroner (approximately 2,000 Euros), last Friday, for breaking the country’s Covid protocols by organising a family birthday dinner.
And far away in India’s most literate state — Kerala, Vijayan has been accused by all and sundry for blatantly breaking the Covid protocols, which was seen by all when TV channels came out with the visuals.
The most virulent comment against Vijayan came from his arch foe and Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan who said that he cannot find any other word than call him a ‘Covidiot’, for the blatant violation of Covid norms.
“None is above the law and for the past one year practically every day we all saw Vijayan holding press conferences speaking on how Covid protocols should be followed. At times even he admonished political leaders for violation of Covid protocols,” said Muraleedharan.
“I want to ask him one question…We all wish to know from him when did he turn Covid positive, as according to the Kozhikode Medical College officials, after Vijayan was discharged on Wednesday, it was said that on April 4 he showed Covid symptoms and hence after 10 days, when he tested negative he was discharged. If that is the case, how come he conducted a roadshow along with film stars on April 4? Also on the polling day on April 6, he walked 500 metres from his house to the polling booth,” asked Muraleedharan.
“It must also be noted that all saw his daughter voting wearing a PPE kit. Here again there was a violation because if a family member is positive, others have to follow Covid protocols. So there has been a large-scale violation by Vijayan and hence the Kerala Police should register a case against him, as none is above the law,” added Muraleedharan and pointed out that all saw Vijayan travelling in a car to the hospital for getting admitted and on his return, his wife who was Covid positive, travelled with him.
Two days after this blatant violation took place, Vijayan appears to have gone ‘underground’, the most popular word during the days of the yesteryear’s when Communists were haunted and hunted by various administrations.
Even though he chaired a meeting of top officials on Thursday, to come out with fresh measures to prevent the Covid virus from spreading, contrary to what happened in the past one year, he ducked the customary media briefing of his and in his place came the head of the bureaucracy — Chief Secretary V.P. Joy to announce the new curbs.
It’s here one has to hear what the Commissioner of Police in Norway, Ole Saeverud, had to say about the Prime Minister being fined when he held a media conference.
“Even if the law is equal for everyone, everyone is not equal. Solberg is the country’s foremost elected official and has on a number of occasions, been the leading figure in the government’s decisions on measures to counter the pandemics. It is therefore considered justified to give a sanction to maintain public confidence in the health rules,” the Commissioner said.
And when the media here repeatedly asked Joy about the news of the violation of Vijayan, pat came the reply, “I am here to announce the new curbs that have been decided to prevent the spread of Covid.”
Joy very well knows any faux pas by him could well make his life miserable as Vijayan is no Solberg.
In Norway after the fine was imposed, Solberg apologised and said she wouldn’t appeal the decision.
“We should not have broken the rules and I want to apologise again,” was what she told a TV channel there.
And out here, while Vijayan continues to be in ‘hiding’, the State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja flatly denied that Vijayan broke protocols.
“There is always a tendency to drag the CM into needless controversies and this is another one. He has not violated any protocol,” said Shailaja.
Incidentally all eyes are on Chandy, as he is also now convalescing at a private hospital here after turning Covid positive and the news is that his family is rearing to get him discharged and take him home and now with the Vijayan fiasco, he might have to wait a while before returning home. (Agency)