Kerala government car bearing registration number 13 has got a new user with Agriculture Minister P. Prasad, a first-time CPI legislator, opting for it and the “jinxed” imposing Manmohan ministerial bungalow standing next to the Raj Bhavan has been taken by Transport Minister and local legislator Antony Raju.
Given that Raju, of the Democratic Kerala Congress, has been given only 30 months tenure and for the remaining 30 months Kadanapally Ramachandran, of the Congress-S, will be a minister, the jinx continues in a different way.
Though the Marxists claim they do not believe in superstitions, it was be soon who went in for the car bearing registration number 13 and also the Manmohan ministerial bungalow, which is believed to ensure its occupant does not return to the next Assembly or get a promotion.
Incidentally, whenever the Congress-led UDF rules, none ever considers the No 13 state car, but in 2006, present CPI-M Politburo member M.A. Baby, who was the Education Minister in the V.S. Achuthanandan cabinet, took that car.
When the Pinarayi Vijayan government took over in 2016, both the No 13 car and the jinxed bungalow were not on the plate. However, when BJP leader – and current state unit chief – K.Surendran took pot shots against the Left on this, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac took up the challenge, moving into the bungalow and using the car.
While Isaac was expected to return to the post if the Left retained power, he was not fielded in the election as the party decided not to field anyone who has had two successive terms. The jinx associated with the house thus got another lease of life.
Previous occupants included Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who by virtue of becoming the party state Secretary, did not return as a legislator in 2011. In 2011-16, it was Congress veteran Aryadan Mohammed who stayed here and he did not get a seat to contest in 2016.
Former CPI-M leader and minister M.V.Raghavan, who joined the Congress-led UDF after his stay in the bungalow 2001-06, lost the next elections.
When the Vijayan ministry was sworn-in on Thursday, the car bearing the registration No 13 went missing.
State Fisheries and Culture Minister Saji Cherian, asked if he would be willing to ride on the No 13 car, said he doesn’t have any such issues but at the moment, he was given some other number.
So Vijayan can now breathe easy as he will not need to find a new house as all the Ministers will be staying in government-owned homes.