Kerala opposition did not attend Pinarayi Vijayan govt's swearing-in today due to Covid situation

Kerala opposition did not attend Pinarayi Vijayan govt's swearing-in today due to Covid situation

The 21-member cabinet will feature new faces except for three including Pinarayi Vijayan himself.

Opposition parties did not participate in the swearing-in ceremony of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government which was held today. The decision was taken by the opposition parties in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19.

The 21-member cabinet will feature new faces except for three including Pinarayi Vijayan himself. CPI(M) Ministers offered prayers at the Martyrs Column in Alappuzha at 9:30 am in morning. The function was held in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan administered the oath of office and secrecy to the members.

An order issued by the Chief Secretary regarding the oath-taking ceremony stated that entry to the venue will be strictly through an entry pass and the entry/exit will be regulated by maintaining social distancing. The order said that the seating arrangements including at the dais will be made as per COVID-19 protocol. Entry will be allowed to only those persons having RT-PCR/TRUNAT/RT-LAMP negative results obtained within 48 hours or on the production of a final certificate of COVID vaccination. The order also stated that a testing facility for COVID-19 shall also be arranged near the venue.

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United Democratic Front (UDF) convener MM Hassan said the opposition would virtually attend the swearing-in ceremony. In a press release, MM Hassan stated that the news that the opposition parties had boycotted the government's swearing-in ceremony is not true. In wake of the Covid pandemic, it is not right to hold a swearing-in ceremony after announcing a triple lockdown by tying people up at home, the UDF convener said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said, "We didn't expect everyone from the opposition. At least one or two people could attend. It was not appropriate to have no opposition presence in the swearing-in ceremony."

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"The Chief Minister of Kerala should have set an example by organising a simple program like the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu," MM Hassan said.

MM Hasan also said that UDF MPs and MLAs would watch the swearing-in ceremony at home on TV as per the Chief Minister's directive that even family members should watch the swearing-in ceremony at home keeping a social distance.

Union Minister V Muraleedharan also rejected the state government's invitation to the swearing-in ceremony

He said, "With all due respect to the people's mandate, I am rejecting the invitation to the second Pinarayi Government's oath ceremony. People are co-operating to the lockdowns and triple lockdowns because of public safety. But it is very unfortunate that a weakening attitude of the public consciousness was taken from the newly-elected government."

V Muraleedharan said the state government will have the full support from the central government at the administrative level as before. He also wished that the chief minister and his cabinet rule Kerala for five years without corruption and nepotism.

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