CPI(M) leaders meet to assess situation over Kerala Minister's remarks against Constitution

Update: 2022-07-06 07:43 GMT

Thiruvananthapuram: Amidst mounting pressure from the opposition for the resignation of Cultural Affairs and Fisheries Minister Saji Cheriyan over his remarks against the Constitution, top leaders of the CPI(M) met at the AKG Centre here to take stock of the situation.

The meeting was attended by the available state secretariat of the party which included Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Cheriyan.

Emerging from the meeting, Cheriyan responded to questions on whether he would be resigning with a query of his own -- "why?"

".. What is the problem? I already said what I had to say yesterday," he said in response to repeated queries by reporters outside the party headquarters on whether he would resign or if his resignation has been sought.

Earlier in the day, the Kerala Legislative Assembly session was adjourned for the day after the Congress-led UDF opposition staged protests in the House demanding resignation of Cheriyan.

Later the opposition members protested on the steps of the House and thereafter, near the statue of Dr B R Ambedkar inside the gates of the assembly.

Then the protesting opposition members moved outside the gates of the assembly and told reporters that the ruling front and the CM were avoiding questions being raised by the UDF against Cheriyan.

Targeting Cheriyan for his remarks, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said they were not only an insult to the Constitution and the country, but also to Dr B R Ambedkar who headed the committee which drafted the Constitution.

In the visuals aired by some TV channels, the Kerala minister could be seen saying in a recent event that the Constitution of the country "condones exploitation" and is written in a way helping to "plunder" the people of the country.

Later, in a statement given in the state Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Cheriyan said news reports claiming he had criticised the Constitution at an event held at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district were "distorted".

Cheriyan's remarks against the Constitution have resulted in protests by the BJP and Congress in various parts of the state seeking his resignation. Effigies of the minister were also burnt.

Both Congress and BJP have also forwarded complaints to the Governor's office seeking his intervention in the matter and alleging that the minister's remarks were unconstitutional.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Tuesday, left the ball in the CM's court by saying that he was sure the head of the ruling dispensation in the state would take notice of what had happened.

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