The Opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala on Monday sought the resignation of Thiruvananthapuram Mayor S Arya Rajendran in connection with a purported letter written by her seeking a “priority list” for appointing Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres to temporary posts in the civic body, The New Indian Express reported.
Rajendran was celebrated as the youngest mayor of the country when she took over in 2020. On Sunday, she denied writing or signing any such letter, saying that it appeared to be edited.
The letter, the authenticity of which is yet to be ascertained, was addressed to Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan on November 1. It stated that the online application process to fill 295 daily wage posts in the health wing of the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation has been opened, according to PTI.
A break-up chart of various posts and the number of vacancies in each category such as public health expert, doctor, staff nurse, pharmacist, lab technician, and part-time sweeper was attached. The mayor had purportedly requested the party district secretary to provide the “priority list” of cadres to be appointed by November 16, the last date for submission of applications.
On Monday, youth organisations of the Congress and the BJP protested at the corporation office demanding Rajendran’s resignation for allegedly seeking to fill the vacancies with party appointees. Tension prevailed after Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers barged into the office, leading to a minor scuffle with the police.
“The protestors were booked under Sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 188, 283 and 332 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertained to various offences including unlawful assembly, rioting, and voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from discharging their duty,” an unidentified official told The New Indian Express.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also sought Rajendran’s resignation, describing her actions as disgraceful. “At a time when India’s [and Kerala’s] youth are reeling from record levels of unemployment, this is a betrayal,” he wrote in a tweet.
BJP Kerala President K Surendran said that the corporation governing council should be dissolved. “Is it the role of the CPI(M) district secretary to fill jobs in a corporation?” he asked. “Vacancies should have been reported to the employment exchange. This job racket of the CPI(M) is a challenge to the people and the lakhs of jobless youths of the state. This is nepotism and violation of the oath of office.”
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan alleged that party cadres and relatives of the Left leaders were getting jobs while those qualified are forced to leave the state in search of employment.
“The letter which is being discussed is not the first of its kind,” he claimed. “Many other such letters exist with people. They will come to light very soon. They have become like an oligarchy in Kerala.”
Rajendran brushed aside demands for her resignation, describing them as a joke.
“Whether the letter or the letter head or the signature is fake, original or forged has to be ascertained in the inquiry,” the 23-year-old told reporters. “That is why I have given a complaint to the chief minister requesting for an inquiry into how the letter came into existence and what was the motive behind it.”