The Statewide protest by PSC rankers for government jobs intensified on Monday.
Agitators stood on their knees in supplication in front of the Government Secretariat. Their compatriots in Kannur and Kozhikode protested with begging bowls. Several collapsed from heat-stroke.
The agitators appeared to present a counter-narrative to the government’s pro-youth election propaganda.
Their actions also seemed a pushback against the government’s decision to regularise temporary employees and daily wage workers with more than 10 years of service.
The protesters also sought to work up public anger at reports of backdoor appointments favouring Left leaders’ relatives in postings and non-reporting of job vacancies to the PSC.
The rankers also demanded the government create more last grade posts and extend the validity of the current list by six months.
The government is yet to engage them in talks. An attempt by the LDF to test the waters with some of their leaders for reconciliation had failed.
The Congress has attempted to capitalise on the perceived outrage at backdoor appointments and the government’s ‘defiant’ attitude towards the ‘plight’ of persons who cleared the PSC test for State service.
Congress legislators Shafi Parambil and K.S. Sabarinath were on an indefinite fast in front of the Secretariat. Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran visited their lean-to adjacent to the PSC rankers.
Mr. Ramachandran said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had behaved vengefully towards PSC rankers and cast them into an abyss of uncertainty.
The AIYF urged the government to talk to the protesters.
However, the DYFI struck a different tone. Its State president A. A. Rahim accused the Congress of plotting to infiltrate the PSC rankers’ agitation and incite violence in a bid to turn public opinion against the government.
The CPI(M) had maintained that the government had done nothing to whittle down PSC jobs. The regularisation of daily wage earners had occurred in institutions whose postings were outside the PSC’s purview. The government had done so on compassionate grounds. No political consideration was in play.