Pinarayi Vijayan's swearing-in to be held with 500 people, draws criticism 

The swearing-in ceremony will be held on May 20 at the Central Stadium, which has a capacity of 1,000.  
Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan
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The swearing-in ceremony of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government will be held with 500 people, which is half of the capacity of the Central stadium where the ceremony will be held on May 20. Earlier the plan was to conduct the swearing-in ceremony with 750-800 people. However, it was decided to be held as a low-key event after the decision drew flak. The Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association had urged the swearing-in to be a virtual event owing to the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.

A general lockdown has been in place in the state since May 8. While the lockdown which was initially announced from May 8 to 16 has been extended to 23,  a triple lockdown has been imposed in four districts of the state from May 16 midnight.

However, the latest decision to conduct the swearing-in too has invited criticism as many see it as unfair to have a gathering when the rest of the state is under lockdown.

"Kerala had an opportunity to conduct a virtual swearing-in-ceremony as IMA had advised and set a good example. While the state is under lockdown, conducting a function with 500 people in one place is not in the right spirit. This also involves each MLAs traveling to participate.," Health Economist Rijo M John tweeted.

In an order issued by the Chief Secretary regarding the swearing-in, it's said that while the central stadium has a seating capacity of 1000 observing the COVID protocols, the number of participants shall be limited to 500.

The Communist Party of India Marxist-headed Left Democratic Front won 99 seats in the 140 member assembly in the elections held in April.

As per the order, entry to the Central Stadium shall be limited only to persons having COVID-19 negative certificates from RT-PCR, Trunat and RT Lamp tests, obtained within 48 hours or on the production of a final certificate of COVID vaccination. It also reads that the testing facility for COVID-19 shall also be arranged near the venue.

"Entry to the function site shall strictly be regulated through entry pass. Entry and exit of invitees shall be regulated as per existing physical distancing norms. Entire seating arrangements including on stage shall be made as per existing COVID-19 protocol," the order further reads.

Abhishek Baxi, a freelance technology journalist and digital consultant, tweeted that while the administration asserts that everyone will need to carry a COVID negative certificate or a full vaccination certificate, this is a poor move.

"Not just for optics, but also for the chances that this becomes a super-spreader event. We can not take any chances," the tweet reads.

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