THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The entire political lineup in the state, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, skipped the Christmas celebration organised by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.
Curiously, BJP state president K Surendran also gave the event a miss despite getting an invite. Speaker A N Shamseer stayed away too as did senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.
A host of socio-political and religious leaders attended the event. They included Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, Archbishop Joseph Mar Gregorious, Archbishop Thomas J Netto, Palayam Imam Shuhaib Moulavi, Swami Abhayananda of Chinmaya Mission and Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi. A few senior bureaucrats, including Chief Secretary V P Joy and state police chief Anil Kant, were also in attendance.
Shamseer had informed the Raj Bhavan of his inconvenience to attend. Though Surendran too had done the same — he was in Sabarimala — his absence surprised many. He was one of the few political leaders not holding a government post to be invited to the event. Sources said chiefs of other parties, including Congress president K Sudhakaran and CPM state secretary M V Govindan, were not invited.
Satheesan was not in the state as he was participating in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, currently in Rajasthan. Political observers opined that the governor, who has been at loggerheads with the government, was extending an olive branch by inviting the CM and ministers.
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE
Joshua Mar Ignathios, Ameenath Abdulla Deedi of Maldives consulate, GAD principal secretary K R Jyothilal, agriculture secretary B Ashok Kerala University of Health Sciences VC Mohanan Kunnumal, former Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair, Justice Cyriac Joseph, actor Maniyan Pilla Raju, architect G Shankar, T P Sreenivasan, Jiji Thomson, T Balakrishnan, Soorya Krishna Moorthi, R Sreekantan Nair, Olympic Association chief Sunil Kumar and Kadayara Nazar.