KOCHI: While triskaidekaphobia, the fear of no. 13, has become a hot topic of debate after the ‘state car’ no. 13 was not allocated to any of the 19 Ministers in the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet, there were some who braved it.
While M A Baby was the one who had the ‘courage’ to use car no. 13 in the last LDF Government, it was Jiji Thomson who used it at the fag end of the UDF Government when he was advisor to the Chief Minister after retiring from the Chief Secretary’s post.
“When I was allotted the official vehicle, I had the choice of a few numbers, including 13. When they asked whether I had any objection to accept the number, I said I did not have any apprehension over that. So, they allotted me vehicle no. 13,” Jiji Thomson told ‘Express.’
“I am a firm believer in God. I don’t buy the superstition over no. 13,” said Jiji, who used the vehicle from March 1 to May 19. “I surrendered the vehicle on the day after the election results were published, after submitting my resignation on the previous day,” added Jiji.
Now comes P C George, the Independent MLA who won from Poonjar with flying colours, after beating the fear of 13. His name was the 13th in the voting machine, which according to him was a deliberate choice. He won the election with a margin of 27,820 votes. “Now, 13 is my lucky number, which I chose deliberately. They would have allotted me no. 12, if I did not have ‘Plathottam’ in my name. I had added my house name to avoid namesakes. Though no namesake turned up, I left it as it is. I took no. 13 because it helped me have a good traction with voters, and it proved that the fear for the number is mere superstition,” he said. The firebrand politician further stated that believing in such things would be nonsensical, and termed such superstitions the byproduct of ‘bourgeois thought process.’ He also cited the examples of President Pranab Mukherjee and CPM politburo member M A Baby, who loved no. 13, to prove his point.
Official residences, state cars allotted to ministers
The General Administration Department has allotted official residences and vehicles to ministers. However, the absence of No. 13, considered to be unlucky, among the state car numbers has triggered a controversy.