Thiruvananthapuram: The ongoing tiff between the lone Keralaite in the Union Cabinet -- V. Muraleedharan and the Kerala government on Tuesday took a turn for the worse when the former accused the latter of wanting to delay the return of the state diaspora from the Middle East.
Quick in denial was State Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty who blamed Muraleedharan for behaving in a manner not befitting his status.
Muraleedharan told the media that Kerala has written to the Centre that the pace of bringing back its diaspora from Middle East should be slowed down.
"The letter said there is a limitation on the staff that can be deployed at the four airports in the state to ensure that correct protocols are followed. The same is also said about the arrival of chartered flights," said Muraleedharan.
But while remaining non-committal on this request made by the state to the Centre, Mercykutty said the only condition that the state has put forward is that it should be informed well in advance about the list of the arriving passengers.
"He (Muraleedharan) has been behaving like this for a while now and it does not match his status. Kerala writes so many letters to the Centre on a daily basis. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has made things very clear and the position is the same, that the state is ready to receive its people," said a peeved Mercykutty.
The first flight carrying Kerala diaspora arrived in the state on May 7 and till Monday 21,839 people have arrived and according to the web portal of the Kerala government, more than 3.80 lakh people from across the world have registered to return, with more than 90 per cent from the various Middle East countries.
The Congress-led opposition and the state unit of the BJP had taken on Vijayan for going back on the numerous assurances given to the diaspora and all hell broke loose when Vijayan said the diaspora will have to pay for quarantine.
Following the outburst, Pinarayi Vijayan backtracked and said an order will soon be out on paid quarantine.