The fall out of this deadly cyclone was a shining star Nirmala Sitharaman in the horizon of south Indian politics
Oakhi, the cyclone that struck the southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on December 1 and 2 caused innumerable hardship and destruction in Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram districts. The callous approach of the LDF government in Kerala led by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan resulted in the victims revolting against the Marxist-led Kerala Government. But the fall out of this deadly cyclone was a shining star in the horizon of south Indian politics. She is none other than Nirmala Sitharaman, union minister for defence.
Within hours union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman reached Thiruvananthapuram from Kanyakumari where she had gone to take stock of the situation arising out of the cyclone and also to supervise the rescue and relief operations
Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister who describes himself as IRATTA CHANKAN (Malayalam for the one with two chests, Braveheart to be precise) was driven away by the fishing community of Poonthura near Thiruvananthapuram when he went for an inspection in the area. Not only Pinarayi, his ministers Kadakampalli Surendran and Mercykutty Amma had to face the ire of the people in the coastal villages who were upset over the indifference of the Kerala Government to their pleas to save the lives of their family members who had left for fishing in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal during the cyclone.
The Kerala Chief Minister was “Kind Enough” to visit the village after a full four days of the cyclone.
Click here to watch the video of Pinarayi Vijayan’s car being blocked by the irate crowd
Mercykutty Amma, the fisheries minister of Kerala, who visited the fishing village Poonthura, accompanied by a cavalcade of high-end cars and SUVs, reportedly refused to speak with the people and pacify them. “When the wives of fishermen who have been missing since November 29 following the cyclone tried to speak to Mercykutty Amma, she shouted at them and asked: “What the hell you think I am? Who told your husbands to go for fishing in spite of the warning issued by the government? I am not responsible for the disappearance of your husbands. You yourself find out where they are.”
The poor women and other family members shouted at the minister who kept on rebuking the fishermen community for their ignorance about protocol and procedures. After a few hours, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan made a grand appearance accompanied by hundreds of cars and guarded by his elite Marxist commandoes. Vijayan too had to make a quick retreat when the public resentment exceeded all limits and he too condemned the indiscipline of the fishing community.
Within hours union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman reached Thiruvananthapuram from Kanyakumari where she had gone to take stock of the situation arising out of the cyclone and also to supervise the rescue and relief operations. The moment she landed at Thiruvananthapuram, she asked the officials to take her to Poonthura village where the residents were in an agitated mood. The Kerala ministers who had come to meet her to submit the details of the financial loss suffered by the State government because of the cyclone tried to dissuade Nirmala Sitharaman from proceeding to the fishing hamlets. But the minister was a picture of confidence and poise. She told she would speak to the fishermen community and pacify them. The Marxist ministers chuckled secretly as they were hoping to see the live visuals of the BJP leader being snubbed by the furious fisher community.
This is the time we should stand unitedly and work together to save the fishermen who have been missing. So, please do not shout at anybody and lets work together,” said Nirmala
But they were in for a major shock. When Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at Poonthura village, she was heckled and booed by the furious members of the community. But within seconds she had the crowd eating from her hands. “Naanum oru Pembilai….Kayyeduthu Kumbittu Kekkiren… Kopappedakoodathu….” That’s how Nirmala began her speech after listening to the woes of the crowd. “I can understand the disgust and discontentment in your heart. Please remember I too am a woman like you. I am pleading with folded hands. Please understand that the government is doing all it could to locate the missing persons. Helicopters, ships, boats have been pressed into 24X7 service to locate the missing persons. The entire Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal regions are being searched threadbare for any signs of the persons reportedly went missing because of the cyclone. The search operation will continue till you say it is sufficient and enough,” this was what Nirmala told the crowd of nearly a thousand villagers listened to her in rapt attention.
Click here to watch the video of Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the crowd
“This is the kind of person whom we want as our leader,” said Margarette, a housewife whose husband went missing but was spotted and saved by the choppers of the Indian Coast Guard. But what stood out in Nirmala’s speech was her concern for all. When the local crowd, consisting fully of Christian community people, shouted at the Marxist ministers, Nirmala requested them not to do so. “See, you may have grievances against politicians. But this is not at the time to show your resentment and ire. This is the time we should stand unitedly and work together to save the fishermen who have been missing. So, please do not shout at anybody and lets work together,” said Nirmala. She also assured the community members that she personally would oversee that they were served with relief materials and compensation for all the losses suffered by them.
By the time she completed her interaction with the community members, they have been bowled over by her kindness and love for fellow human beings. When a section of the crowd shouted at the Kerala ministers, Nirmala asked them not to do so. The police tried to stop the people from asking questions to the union minister. But Nirmala asked the police not to prevent anybody present from asking questions to her.
While the Kerala ministers did not bother to convince the population the kind of good work they have done, union minister Nirmala Sitharaman impressed upon the people the work she has done, howsoever small it may be
Interestingly, Kadakampalli Suredran and Mercykutty Amma who were chased away by the crowd the previous day too got a chance to make an appearance in the Poonthura area in the company of Nirmala. Surendran was seen trying to interrupt Nirmala while she was addressing the crowd. But Mercykutty Amma was seen standing with a grim face throughout the union minister’s interaction with the crowd.
The people who had heckled the union defence minister gave her a fond farewell with a standing ovation when she left for the next village, Vizhinjam for further interaction with the victims of the cyclone. Before she left the place, Nirmala assured all the people that she personally would see to it that they get suitable compensation for the losses they suffered during the cyclone. “Let the district administration prepare a report of the losses you suffered. Funds will not be a problem. We will help you and we are with you,” the minister assured the community.
Vinoo V John, the Asianet News anchorperson, who does not hesitate to openly flout the Hindu community, had this to tell about Nirmala Sitharaman. “The ministers had to convince the people that they are doing something for them. While the Kerala ministers did not bother to convince the population the kind of good work they have done, union minister Nirmala Sitharaman impressed upon the people the work she has done, howsoever small it may be,” said John whose hatred for Hindu colleagues in the channel is notorious.
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