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Politicians in Kerala more decent than counterparts in other states: Former chief secretary of state

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (PTI) Politicians in Kerala are much more decent than many of their counterparts in other states, former chief secretary of the state K Jayakumar said on Friday during one of the sessions of the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) 2024 being held here.

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Jayakumar, who is also the founding vice-chancellor (VC) of the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, said that one comes to realise the distinction between politicians of other states and those in Kerala when you compare the two.

"In other states, bureaucrats or government officials have to become politicians themselves in order to survive in the administration. There is no need for that here in Kerala," he said while speaking during a session of the fifth edition of the MBIFL at Kanakakunnu Palace here.

The retired IAS officer, who is one of over 400 speakers who have been invited to share their thoughts and experiences at the literary event, said he was impressed by and had respect for the politicians in Kerala as they were mature, knowledgeable and well qualified.

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"They are as intelligent and enlightened as we are," he remarked, during discussions on his life as a civil servant and the book written by him about his government service days.

Jayakumar said that another reason he likes the political leadership here is that they would not push someone into corruption if one wants to be honest.

"However, if you want to be corrupt, you will be given the opportunities for the same. Majority of the bureaucrats or government officials who were caught and punished for graft were those whose greed made them fall into the trap of corruption," he said.

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Among the politicians he was most impressed by, he mentioned former Kerala Chief Minister and Congress stalwart late Oommen Chandy.

The reason, he said, is that Chandy gave him the opportunity to be the founding VC of the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University. It was a huge generosity shown to him by then CM Chandym, he added.

"As a result, I got the opportunity to create a university from scratch by finding land for it, setting up a building, framing rules, recruiting professors and finally holding entrance exams to enroll students. That is a huge thing for me," he said.

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Jayakumar, who is the son of film director M Krishnan Nair and has also worked as a lyricist, translator and screenwriter, had a piece of advice for civil service aspirants and young bureaucrats -- "do not publicly express your disagreement or differences with your minister's actions".

He added: "At the same time if you can support the minister or ensure that he/she gets credit for some work of the ministry or department, do so publicly. If you disagree with them publicly, consequences would surely follow, Therefore, that much diplomacy we should have." The MBIFL which began on February 8 will conclude on February 11.

The theme for this year's edition of the literary event is 'Exploring Plurality' -- a 360-degree attempt at understanding diverse perspectives, cultures, and identities. PTI HMP HMP ANE

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