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CM rubbishes Kerala opposition''s claims on extravagance


Thiruvananthapuram : Breaking his silence on the opposition''s allegations of extravagance indulged in by his LDF government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dismissed the charges as baseless.

Vijayan has been attacked by the opposition''s top brass, including Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and state Congress President Mullapally Ramachandran.

The Chief Minister said that though the Congress top brass has been slamming him for around a month now, he had not reacted so far since these were "all baseless allegations".

In a point-by-point rebuttal, Vijayan took on the opposition in his weekly TV programme, which will be telecast later in the day by TV channels. This endeavour also was dubbed by the opposition as a wasteful expenditure, with the only beneficiary being party-backed Kairali TV channel which produces it.

Incidentally, this TV programme is anchored by his media adviser John Brittas, who also heads the Kairali TV channel.

As for the controversy over an expenditure of over Rs 1.50 crore for hiring a helicopter, Vijayan claimed that it is now a norm since many states use these in an emergency and for security reasons.

On the passage of an ordinance to defer salaries of all state government employees for six days a month for five months, the Chief Minister said that this has been done in various forms by other states and also by the Centre.

"People will take stock of what was done by a section of the employees here on the issue. Also, the Congress should express its view on the way the Rajasthan government resorted to salary cuts," said Vijayan.

On the allegations that his half a dozen advisers were costing a fortune to the southern state, he pointed out that if the remunerations of all his advisers was added up the amount wouldn''t add up to the salary of a high-ranked official.

On the issue of hiring ''very expensive'' lawyers when the state has a battery of lawyers, Vijayan said that at times it might be necessary to hire top experts to defend the state government. This has been done by the Congress governments several times in the past, he said.


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