As Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not participate in the video conference called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the Coronavirus situation on Monday, state BJP unit went all guns blazing against him. BJP state chief K Surendran said that while the whole country was fighting the pandemic together, it was "inappropriate" on part of the Kerala chief minister to miss the meeting.
"Kerala chief minister said he had attended the last meeting and hence he did not attend today's meeting. However, most of the chief ministers, who attended the last meeting, had attended Monday's meeting. While the whole country is fighting the pandemic together, his absence cannot be justified," Surendran said in a statement.
However, Vijayan, in his daily COVID-19 evaluation press meet, said the Union cabinet secretary had on Sunday informed that only a few chief ministers will have a chance to speak at the video conference. "We were asked to share the topics which we would like to share in the video conference. We had informed the cabinet secretary about it on Sunday itself. The cabinet secretary had informed us that only a few chief ministers will get a chance to speak during the conference," Vijayan said.
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Only nine chief ministers got the chance to speak during the video conference called by the prime minister. Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose participated in the conference. The Kerala had informed the cabinet secretary about the concerns of the state government on Sunday itself. Vijayan said the state government had said that the lockdown could be extended partially till May 15.
The state favoured continuation of restrictions on inter- state and inter-district travel and the ban on public transport till the middle of next month, he told reporters. Vijayan said Chief Secretary Tom Jose represented the state in the virtual meetting held by Modi with chief ministers since it was informed that Kerala may not get a chance to speakat the meeting due to paucity of time.
In a telephonic conversation with Home Minister Amit Shah, he suggested a national policy on lockdown that also caters to state-specific and regional needs. The state would prefer having a partial lockdown till May 15 and then review the lockdown based on the COVID situation then. The state is of the opinion that, in districts where no cases are reported in the previous week, relaxations on public movement and public transport can be partially allowed by adhering to all safety precautions, he added.