(Eds: adding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's quotes) Thiruvananthapuram,Feb 16 (PTI) Youth Congress workers on Tuesday intensified their protest demanding extension of validity of the public service commission rank lists and alleging back-door appointments by the ruling LDF, even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the party,saying the opposition was misleading the public and job aspirants.
'Some have been alleging that PSC has been made a rubber stamp and back-door appointments are rampant.
Even a former chief minister was alleging the same.
It's surprising that the former chief minister has been supporting a protest seeking to give appointment to everyone in a rank list and to revive an expired rank list,' Vijayan told reporters here.
Earlier in the day, former chief minister and senior Congress leader Chandy had visited the protesters led by the Youth Congress and demanded that the rank list of Civil Police Officer (CPO), which expired in June 2020, be revived.
'How can we revive a list that was expired in June 2020? Is there any law prevailing in the state for that purpose? Are the opposition leaders unaware of such matters? They are aware.
They want to mislead the youngsters and gain politically.
That'stheir aim,' Vijayan said.
The CPI(M) heading the LDF maintained the agitation was aimed at forcing the government to make illegal appointments in various departments.
In a related development, the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the youth wing of the CPI, a major LDF ally, held discussions with the rank holders, agitating in front of the state secretariat here since January 26, to find an amicable solution on their demand for extending the rank list.
The Youth Congress activists, who have extended support to the agitation by the rank holders, staged protests across the state.
The stir here turned violent and police used water cannons to disperse the agitating workers of the Youth Congress, which has accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of making back-door appointments in various government departments in the guise of regularising the services of temporary staff instead of appointing those on rank lists.
Countering the charges, CPI-M state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan wondered how the government can appoint people from 'expired' rank lists.
'How can we encourage a protest to force the government to make illegal appointments? The Congress is encouraging violent politics. This is a conspiracy to create unrest,' he alleged.
Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala sought to know why the chief minister was 'reluctant' to settle the protest of the rank holders.
'They have been begging the government for jobs. But the government refuses to pay heed. This shows the arrogance of the government,' he charged.
Chandy said the government should 'extend the rank list' by 18 more months, failing which the LDF 'will have to pay a huge price'.
Vijayan had earlier said the government has released 4,012 rank lists in five years covering nearly four lakh people.
Currently, there were 5,28,231 government staff across the state and every year only 25,000 appointments can be made, he had said, while noting that all the PSC rank lists ending this month have already been extended by six months.
Appointments in government posts are made from the rank lists published by the PSC after relevant periodical exams and interviews. The lists will have five times more people than the number of vacancies and are valid for periods ranging from one to three years. PTI RRT VS APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR