By Ashraf Padanna/Gulf Times Correspondent /Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who arrived in New Delhi to attend a two-day meeting of his Communist Party of India (Marxist) party’s politburo meeting, received a hero’s welcome from his supporters yesterday.
They rolled out a red carpet at the Kerala House, the state government’s guesthouse in the national capital where he is staying.
They also accorded a rousing welcome at the airport when he arrived with his politburo colleagues Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and M A Baby.
The supporters raised slogans, beat drums and burst firecrackers hailing his victory before an official reception.
It was the first time that such a grand reception was accorded to a chief minister of Kerala in the national capital.
He was also accompanied by Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand and Principal Secretary Nalini Netto.
Vijayan later made courtesy calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The chief minister is expected to visit Delhi again next month for official talks with federal ministers seeking support for the state’s flagship projects.
Jaitley during the meeting reportedly sought the CPM’s support for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, aimed at a unified value-added tax.
Expatriates meanwhile are looking up to Vijayan with high expectations.
Sharjah-based K V Shamsudheen said: “Kerala should transform into a destination for quality education to attract foreign nationals like Singapore and Dubai. It should also promote educational tourism.”
He expects a lot from the new chief minister as Vijayan, like his predecessor, had extensive interaction with the diaspora in the Gulf ahead of elections.
He wants the state government to revive its Islamic banking project for infrastructure funding.
Meanwhile, the CPM politburo which is meeting after the severe drubbing in West Bengal and unexpected sweep in Kerala is expected to discuss former chief minister VS Achuthanandan’s demand for a position with a cabinet rank in the government.
With the rout in West Bengal, the central leadership is unlikely to impose a decision on the Kerala unit against the interests of Vijayan, who now commands absolute control over the party.
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