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Pinarayi eyes Q&A on TV every week

Bangalore: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will soon feature in a weekly government-sponsored TV programme, fielding questions from expert panels on social and development issues, his office has confirmed.

The state government's public relations department will produce the 30-minute show while the state-owned Centre for Development of Imaging Technology will provide technical support.

"The unique thing is that Doordarshan and private satellite channels will telecast it simultaneously," a bureaucrat from the chief minister's office told The Telegraph. "Negotiations are in the final stages with private channels."

The channels are expected to upload the video on their websites and social media pages too.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat is broadcast only over the state-owned Doordarshan and All India Radio, although many private channels webcast it simultaneously.

The main objective of Vijayan's show - tentatively titled Naam Munnottu (We Are Moving Ahead) - will be to reach out to Malayalis in the country and abroad. It comes at a time his government is under attack over several issues.

Pictures of party lawmakers P.T.A. Raheem and Karat Razak posing with alleged gold smuggler Abu Liaz, and their purported links with another alleged gold smuggler, Karat Faisal, have left the CPM squirming. The party's just-ended Janajagruti Yatra saw state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan riding a Mini Cooper belonging to Faisal.

State transport minister Thomas Chandy has been accused of land encroachment.

Vijayan will be following a tradition. Late CPM chief minister E.K. Nayanar used to feature in a phone-in programme, Mukhyamantriyodu Chokidikkam (Ask the Chief Minister), on Asianet TV that was known for his witty answers to questions.

Oommen Chandy, the previous chief minister who headed a Congress-led government, had his own show on Doordarshan, called Sutharya Keralam (Transparent Kerala).

Unlike Nayanar and Chandy, Vijayan will stick to questions on one particular subject per show. The first two episodes have been filmed at the state-owned Chitranjali Studio here.

Each episode will feature a panel of experts on the chosen subject and a special guest.

Actress Rima Kallingal and veteran actor-filmmaker Srinivasan are the special guests in the first two episodes, respectively, which deal with women's empowerment and the state of agriculture in Kerala, particularly its falling rice production.

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