Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday criticised the exclusion of Malayalam in the list of languages that applicants can choose as the medium of examination in a railways recruitment drive. He urged the Centre to intervene immediately.

“The decision to take Malayalam off the list of regional languages for the recruitment exam for group D posts in the Railways will prove to be a great injustice to Kerala and its people,” Vijayan wrote on Facebook. “This will result in a huge loss of opportunities for many applicants from the state.”

He added: “I urge the authorities from the Central Railways to intervene immediately and resolve the issue. The Railways authorities’ decision cannot be justified in any way.”

On Saturday, MB Rajesh, an MP of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), had called the exclusion of Malayalam from the list a “highly provocative, totally unjustifiable and an extremely unacceptable act”. He told PTI that he had written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on the matter. He had called this a “deliberate” conspiracy against candidates from Kerala.

A notification by the Ministry of Railways, issued on February 10, lists Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Odia and Bengali among the list of languages that candidates can choose as their medium of examination. They can also choose English, Hindi and Urdu.

Candidates from the Southern Railways zone can choose Tamil or Telugu, but not Malayalam, even though the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad divisions of Kerala are part of the region.

Candidates have until March 12 to submit their applications.