Modi, Vijayan greet people of Kerala on state formation day

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(Eds: Recasts, adds details) Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1 (PTI) Kerala heralded its 64th formation day on Sunday on a low-key with COVID-19 pandemic casting its shadow, prompting the government to do away with extensive celebrations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished the people of Kerala on the occasion, saying he prays for the continuous progress of the southern state.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were among others who greeted the people of the state on the occasion.

Vijayan said due to COVID-19 there were no extensive celebrations on the formation day this year.

Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956 by integrating Travancore, Cochin and Malabar provinces.

'Kerala Piravi (formation) day wishes to the wonderful people of Kerala, who have always made indelible contributions to India's growth.

'Keralas natural beauty has made it among the most popular destinations, drawing people from all over the world.

Praying for Keralas continuous progress,' Modi tweeted.

Governor Khan wished the people of the state in Malayalam and said the aim should be to make it a more developed 'Nava Keralam'.

'Let us work in harmony for the progress of our beloved state, with the aim of making it a more developed Nava Keralam... We can also give importance to the development of Malayalam, the mother tongue,' he said in a video message.

Shah, in a tweet, said: 'Best wishes to my sisters & brothers of Kerala on 'Kerala Piravi day'. The state is blessed with mesmerising culture and beauty. People of Kerala have been playing an important role all over the world in various fields, especially in health and education.' Vijayan urged the people of Kerala to move forward by upholding the values of secularism, democracy and brotherhood.

'This time our Kerala Piravi day has been affected by the pandemic COVID-19 and hence we have no extensive celebrations.

However, we are celebrating the birth of our state in our hearts,' the Marxist veteran said.

In a Facebook post, he also said the state needed to continue its fight against social inequalities.

'Let us move forward by upholding the values of secularism, democracy and brotherhood,' Vijayan added.

Kerala is battling a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases since September with the infection tally touching 4.20 lakh on Saturday. PTI RRT VS VS