President Patil to get rousing welcome in Kerala


Thiruvananthapuram : President Pratibha Patil is set for her first state visit to Kerala next month and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Wednesday said she would get a rousing welcome in the southern state.

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“The president is arriving Nov 1 and will take part in a few functions. We will give her a public reception,” Achuthanandan told reporters here after his weekly cabinet meeting.

Patil can indeed expect a grand welcome because both the rival political fronts in Kerala — the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF) — had voted for her. They had shown rare camaraderie during her presidential poll campaign visit to the state earlier this year.

However, the only cause for worry for the government is a state-wide shutdown called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), protesting the alleged neglect of Kerala’s railways by the Centre.

“We hope the BJP takes note of the president’s visit Nov 1, which is also Kerala Day and does the needful,” Achuthanandan said. Kerala was formed Nov 1, 1965.

But BJP state president P.K. Krishnadas said they had called for the shutdown a long time back, implying that they had no plans to put aside the strike.

“Tamil Nadu is given a lot of benefits and the Salem Division is to be inaugurated Nov 1, against which we had announced the shutdown long back,” said Krishnadas.