Vijayan fumes as Centre talks directly to Kerala protesters

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New Delhi/Kannur : A fuming Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday slammed the Central government for not taking into confidence the state before holding talks with a group of protesters opposing a particular National Highway alignment in Kannur district.

The protesters are demanding a change in the proposed re-alignment, since the plan in present shape threatens to take away around 12 acres of paddy field, in which they have been cultivating since generations. The protest has received all-round support, but from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Slamming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for playing "dirty politics", Vijayan told the media in Delhi -- where he is attending a meeting of his party -- that the Centre has made a wrong move by deciding to interfere with the development of highway.

"The Centre has done a wrong thing by inviting those opposing the particular NH alignment while the state government was not invited to this meeting. This is the game plan of the RSS. What is even more surprising is that a Union Minister from Kerala (K.J. Alphons) was also present in the meeting," said an angry Vijayan.

He lashed out at the government as soon as he came to know that Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, had met the delegation comprising members from "Vayalkilikal" (the protesters), along with senior state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and Union Minister of Tourism Alphons.

They assured the visiting protesters' team that a team of experts will soon visit the disputed site to find ways for a possible new alignment.

Vijayan is upset over the Vayalkilikal's protests seeking a change in the alignment plan, as he also hails from the district and most of the protesters were hardcore CPI-M activists. But they did not listen to their party leadership, and as a result, they has got alienated from the party.

State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also slammed the move by the Central government and charged that this is a grave violation of the accepted norms in the Centre-state relations that the state government was not invited to this crucial discussion.

"This is being done purposely by the Centre," alleged Balakrishnan.

What appears to have irked Vijayan most is that this issue was not discussed with him when he had recently met Gadkari.