The storm created by the media and the opposition on the appointment of ex-MP A Sampath as he first political representative of the Kerala Government—with Cabinet Rank to boot—to liaise with the BJP Government in New Delhi seems to have died down. Even though there were Left Front Governments led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura in the past, this is the first time in the history of Left governments that a political leader is appointed at the national capital as a special envoy to liaise with the Centre on behalf of the State Government.
During the British colonial rule, the heads of the princely states used to visit the viceroy’s residence in Raisina Hill in New Delhi. The old Travancore House was one such building constructed by the Maharaja of Travancore for his stay whenever he visited the national capital to pay his obeisance to the viceroy. A part of the Kerala House at Jantar Mantar has been converted into an office for Sampath. He will work towards maintaining a cordial relationship between the BJP-led Union Government and the CPI (M)-led Kerala Government.
Sampath, a member of the CPI (M)’s State Committee and a trusted lieutenant of the Chief Minister, will be based in New Delhi for the remaining term of the Pinarayi Vijayan Government. He has been provided the services of a private secretary, two assistants, an office attendant, along with a driver and a state car. All this has been done with a specific political purpose. It has now dawned on the Chief Minister, who is halfway into his term, that such a representative of the State Government is indispensable in the current political situation to liaise with the Centre over and above the bureaucrats. It is also possible that the Centre too might have been in favour of such an arrangement.