The bypass covers the jurisdiction of Kollam MLA and actor Mukesh Kumar, Eravipuram MLA M Noushad and Chavara MLA N Vijayan Pillai. But only Mukesh was invited to be on the dais.

Kollam bypass opening by PM 2 CPI M MLAs excluded from dais BJP leaders find place
news Kollam bypass Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 17:09

The inauguration of the much-awaited bypass in Kollam district has stirred another controversy after it was found that two local MLAs and the Kollam Mayor have been excluded from the dais. 

The 13.5 km bypass was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening. The bypass covers four stretches – Mevaram to Ayathil, Ayathil to Kallumthazham, Kallumthazham to Kadavur and Kadavur to Kavanad.

The entire stretch covers the jurisdiction of three MLAs – Kollam MLA and actor Mukesh Kumar, Eravipuram MLA M Noushad and Chavara MLA N Vijayan Pillai. Among the three, only Mukesh received an invitation to be on the dais. Kollam Mayor P Rajendra Babu was also excluded from the list of invitees to the dais.

“It’s a breach of protocol, if they can do anything because they are in power what is the relevance of having a protocol. We all have been working for the completion of the bypass for the past two and half years,” Noushad told TNM. Noushad and Vijayan Pillai, however, did attend the event. 

Meanwhile, O Rajagopal, the lone BJP MLA in the state representing Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district, joined the PM on the stage. BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Kollam and actor Suresh Gopi and Kollam MP NK Premachandran were also on the dais. Premachandran is the leader of RSP, an ally of the Congress-led opposition – the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Vijayan Pillai’s name was included in the first list released by the PM’s office. While at the start of the programme he did not find a place on the dais, later, however, a chair was brought up for Vijayan Pillai and the seating arrangement was shuffled around so that he could sit on the dais. 

In the second list, the names of the three MLAs and the Kollam Mayor were there. However, in the final list, only Mukesh was included. Both Vijayan Pillai and Noushad belong to the CPI (M), which leads the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). Mukesh is a CPI (M) independent MLA.  

“The BJP will be able to exclude us only from the venue. The people of Kollam are aware of our role; we need space in the hearts of the people only not at the venue. This is the latest example of undemocratic behaviour of the BJP government,” Noushad said.

The bypass has been constructed with Centre-State partnership. Representing the state at the event are Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran. The CPI (M), Noushad said, hasn’t planned any protest against the exclusion of their party MLAs.

Modi’s visit to inaugurate the bypass has been flayed by many who allege that it’s a political gimmick by the BJP. “He is traveling 3,500 km to inaugurate a 13 km bypass,” writer NS Madhavan tweeted.

Though Modi’s visit had been planned earlier, the BJP’s plan was to celebrate Vijay Divas (victory day) of its agitation against the entry of young women into Sabarimala. Since the strategy failed, as young women already entered and worshipped at the temple, it’s believed that the BJP state leadership wanted the Kollam bypass to be inaugurated by the PM to boost the morale of party workers. Some even view it as the beginning of the BJP campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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