Will new-found media aversion cost Kerala CM public trust?

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During Covid in 2020, the Chief Minister used to interact with the media on a regular basis as his government was earning accolades not just in the country but abroad as well for its “deft” handling of the panademic.

But today, the same Vijayan is ducking the same media that provided him a desired media coverage.

When the TV channels and vernacular newspapers were filled with government advertisements on the occasion of his second year in office last month, many who expected him to address the media on the occasion were left disappointed

Though lot of epithets continue to be written on his exploits as a student, youth and in the CPI(M), when it came to facing the media, Vijayan, especially when caught in tangles, he has failed to live to his exalted status, which his party cadres often go to town about.

The only person who never minces words while criticising Vijayan is none other than his now arch political enemy- Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan.

“Vijayan will go down as the biggest coward,” says Satheesan.

Even though he came under the lens when the infamous gold smuggling cases surfaced in July 2020, thanks to his daily media briefing and the huge media publicity he got handling the pandemic, he stunned one and all when he for the first time leading the CPI(M)-led Left in the May 2021 Assembly polls bagged a stellar win and became the first ever CPI(M) leader to have a second successive term in office.

After that his interaction with the media was a rarity and despite his predecessor Congress veteran Oommen Chandy’s attitude towards the media giving bytes came increasingly discussed, Vijayan refused interaction whenever the media approached him.

And that was seen in Dubai on Sunday when the media got around him and asked about the reason why the media back home was being haunted by the police, there was no answer.

The only saving grace was, the otherwise tough and rough demeanor for which Vijayan is known when caught on the back foot, was not visible as he maintained calm, despite a volley of questions.

A political analyst on condition of anonymity said, Vijayan’s behavior towards the media is the least surprising.

“He was never a darling of the media and vice versa. The advantage that Vijayan has over his biggest adversaries – the Congress party is, in the CPI(M) is in the past seven years of he being in office, not even a murmur about his style of functioning has taken place in his party and just imagine when the Congress is in office, not a single day goes by without an internal strife and that’s his biggest strength . One has to wait, despite numerous issues surfacing now against his second term, if he will be able to keep things quiet in his party and it’s here the “now-angry” media has a role,” said the analyst.

Vijayan for the past two weeks has been in the US, Cuba and the UAE and will touch base on Tuesday and all eyes are on if he will continue to duck the media or not.


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