Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu has lashed out at Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan for his Facebook post, supporting the nationwide strike called by Central trade unions on September 2. In an exclusive interview to THE WEEK, Naidu said that Vijayan should refrain from uttering such statements. "Vijayan is the chief minister of a state. He is holding a constitutional post and should respect it. He should not behave like an opposition leader. The Centre has already increased the minimum wages for non-agricultural labourers from Rs 246 to Rs 350. It is the biggest hike in history. Vijayan should know that being in position and in opposition is different. The chief minister of a state cannot speak so irresponsibly," said Naidu.
BJP state general secretary K. Surendran said that Vijayan, by seeking support for the strike, has violated law.
Vijayan has also courted controversy by banning Onam celebrations in government offices in Kerala during working hours, citing public inconvenience. In yet another Facebook post, Vijayan said that it is inappropriate to have Onam celebrations and display flowers during working hours. "Such festivities should be held after working hours or on holidays,” Vijayan said.
Said Naidu, “This is wrong. The CM cannot impose his decisions on others. Onam is a festival to be celebrated. It has been a long tradition of Kerala. We take strong objection to such statements from the chief minister. He has to respect age-old rituals and traditions. In fact, Vijayan telephoned me a few days ago and requested me to be with him for the Onam celebrations in Rashtrapati Bhavan (on September 3). Then, why is he restricting people in his state from celebrating Onam the way they want?”
This is the first time that Rashtrapati Bhavan is becoming a venue for Onam celebrations.
State BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan said that Vijayan should control trade union leaders in CPI(M) who strike work for no reason, rather than impose conditions on Onam celebrations.