A tour from the north to the south of the state,covering 14 districts,has long been a trend with Keralas political and religious leaders. Every such journey is built around a slogan,some calling for protecting secularism and others for promoting development. State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala is the latest leader to go on a Kerala yatra. The yatra,now in progress,has as its slogan prosperous Kerala,safe Kerala. Much is similar between his journey and those taken up by others before him,including BJP state president V Muraleedharan and Sunni Muslim leader Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliyar. The journey invariably starts at Manjeswar in the north,near Mangalore town across the Karnataka border,and ends in Thiruvananthapuram with a public meeting. Along the journey,the leader addresses the media everyday,discussing whatever controversy is running.
A wider target
The CPM has decided to publicly censure party veteran M M Lawrance on charges of defaming the party. In an interview to a newspaper,he alleged that general secretary P Vijayan had joined hands with V S Achuthanandan to oust him (Lawrance) and other senior CITU leaders from the state committee during a conference in 1998. Lawrance made allegations against politburo members Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and M M Baby too. Until he took on Vijayan,Lawrance was seen to be part of the official faction who frequently attacked Achuthanandan. He hadnt faced any disciplinary action then; things changed when he targeted Vijayan and others of that faction. On Sunday,Lawrance said he accepted the decision to publicly censure him.
Saudi jobs lost
A month since the Saudi Arabian government took up a nitaqat policy,which involves reservation of some jobs for local people,at least 2,658 Keralites have returned home after losing their jobs. The statistic comes from the Non-Keralites Residents Affairs Department,which has opened a help desk at three airports to register the returnees. Of the 2,658 persons registered with NORKA until April 28,1,549 had landed at Kozhikode airport in North Kerala,the region that sends the most people (among those in Kerala) to the Middle East. Thiruvananthapuram airport reported 605 registrations,and Kochi airport 202. Predictions from certain quarters had been of an exodus,one of a scale much higher than the number of registrations so far would suggest.