Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has decided to conduct this year’s State youth festival without celebrations due to flood calamities. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had reportedly suggested Biswanth Sinha, principal secretary of the general administration department, about banning this event for this year and save the funds for Kerala flood relief. Soon after this meet, he is said to have left for the US for treatment.

Officials and ministers have now convinced Pinarayi to re-consider the decision claiming that the students will lose an opportunity to gain grace marks without Kalolsavam (native term referring to the State youth festival). The decision to re-conduct the youth festival "without celebrations" was taken after this. 

The public administration department under the chief minister had earlier issued an order to cancel the State youth festival and the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) this year. This led to a controversy as the decision was taken without informing the ministers. Many ministers including AK Balan had come forward voicing their opinion against it. Netizens allege that absence of Pinarayi Vijayan and the inefficiency of the Cabinet ministers is evident now. 

In fact, when the Kerala government had earlier planned to cancel the State youth festival, the chief minister had promised to distribute grace marks to students by conducting the festival in district levels alone.

State Education Minister C Raveendra Nath said that the State youth festival's manual would be reformed. A committee meeting is being held on September 17. The competitions and timings will be decided in this meeting, the minister said in the press meet.

“The government is planning to conduct youth festival, sports and science fairs without celebrations. The youth festival will be conducted just to select the best performers. Decision will be taken about the competition items. The youth festival will be reformed as an opportunity to display students’ talents. It was earlier decided to conduct the festival in Alappuzha. Changing the venue will also be considered. The final decision will be taken later,” said the minister.

Pinarayi Vijayan's trip to the US has been widely criticised. He took off at a time when the State is trying to rebuild itself. And Pinarayi promised to provide best health care as part of his pre-poll promise, but scoots abroad when it comes to getting himself treated. The flood-ravaged State needs all the attention of the government. While Pinarayi has absented himself from the most crucial times, the ministers are no less indifferent. State ministers like G Sudharakan and Thomas Isaac indulged in a brawl n Kuttanad regarding how the flood waters must be handled.

Like Pinarayi not fulfilling his pre-poll promise, ministers too seem to follow suit. A day after Panarayi took off to the US, the ministers led by EP Jayarajan promised to stay united. But, netizens are of the opinion that they are doing so in staying divided.