Dubai - Expatriates say Pinarayi Vijayan will perform better than veteran leader VS Achuthanandan
It's a known fact among the expatriate community in the UAE that Malayalis are politically motivated. As in the past, millions of them in the UAE could not vote in the recently held state assembly elections as the government of India is yet to implement the overseas voting system.
However, their counterparts back home went in favour of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led LDF, which has chosen former party general-secretary Pinarayi Vijayan as the next chief minister. He will be sworn in on May 25. The local media in Kerala projects the 92-year-old veteran leader VS Achuthanandan as people's choice for the CM while a cross-section of society wants 72-year-old Pinarayi, a hardcore Communist, at the helm of the next government.
Khaleej Times spoke to Malayalis in the UAE to get to know the pulse of the expats who had indirectly influenced the voting trend. Beyond doubt, majority said their emotional support is for the nonagenarian. However, taking into consideration the challenges and the need of the time, they said, Pinarayi, is the ideal choice and he can deliver better than Achuthanandan, who was chief minister during the LDF stint earlier. Interestingly, residents said, Achuthanandan can guide the less-experienced Pinarayi in leading the government.
Politics not sentimental: "If sentiments have a value in politics, I will go for VS Achuthanandan," said Rakhee Sudarshan who works at SLi International and a resident of Sharjah.
"But in politics, we look for practicality. To me, age is a stumbling block to support Achuthanandan. I don't think he can deliver as effectively as Pinarayi Vijayan. Moreover, even though Pinarayi does not have a track record of leading the government, he has proved his mettle as the minister of power. Above all, Pinarayi is pro-development compared to VS."
For communal harmony: "If I were in Kerala, I would have voted for the Oomen Chandy-led United Democratic Front," said Mohammed Navas, Support Manager at Body Shop, Al Futtaim Auto Centre.
"As people's verdict went in favour of the LDF, and there is confusion in the minds of people regarding the next CM. For me, it is definitely Pinarayi Vijayan. Because, only he can withstand the pressure of communal forces which has been trying to erode the harmony in the society. He is a powerful politician and a better administrator than Achuthanandan.
Sincere leader: Sheeja Shaji, a primary teacher at GEMS Our Own Sharjah Girls School also feels that Pinarayi Vijayan is better than VS as he is sincere and has organisational capability. "How can VS, who needs the support of two to three people even to walk, rule the state for five years? I am not forgetting he was the star campaigner. In fact, I wished him to suggest Pinarayi's name as the next CM."
Not moderate: Rijesh Rajan, a businessman in Dubai however feels Achuthanandan will make a better chief minister. "For him, people and their interests are big priorities than the party. We have seen that in his stand on the Lavalin scam which tarnished the image of Pinarayi though he was absolved of the charge. Pinarayi always acts in favour of his party and his interests play a big role while taking decisions. I prefer the moderate Achuthanandan to 'powerful' Pinarayi."
VS denied chance: "I think, the CPI-M should have given Achuthanandan a one-year term as CM. Because, he is well aware of the corruptions that happened during the Oommen Chandy government's rule. If he was given a chance, VS could have been a guide to Pinarayi," said Nima Pradeep a teacher at The Indian International School, Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Age not barrier: "Why did not the party consider his age when Achuthanandan was roped in for campaigning?" asks Taif .S , Senior Accountant at GAP Corp, JLT,Dubai. "I think if a 92-year-old can travel the length and breadth of Kerala for campaign, he can rule the state, as well. Of course, it will be difficult to complete the term of five years. He should have been given at least the first two years as I think Pinarayi will not give much importance to the former government's corruption as Achuthanandan."
For sea change: For Shaji Sasidharan, an accountant at Sytraco, FZE, Pinarayi Vijayan is his choice. "He can hinder the growth of communal forces. Kerala needs a strong leader like him at all levels. From development policies to growth of the state, he can bring a sea change."