Kerala Minister, Facing Protests For Anti-Constitution Remarks, Resigns

The opposition Congress had been demanding Saji Cheriyan’s resignation.


Kerala Minister Saji Cheriyan on Wednesday said he was resigning after the controversy over his remarks on the constitution showed no signs of abating and proceedings in the state assembly were disrupted once again, with the opposition forcing an adjournment for the day.

Though the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) came prepared to take up the matter as an adjournment motion in the assembly and raised slogans against Mr Cheriyan, charging him with ‘humiliating’ the constitution and its architects, Speaker MB Rajesh suddenly announced that the house was adjourned for the day.

Terming the Speaker’s action as “unprecedented”, the opposition leaders later met him at his office and conveyed their displeasure over his sudden decision for the early adjournment and alleged that the government and the ruling front were trying to avoid their questions.

Amidst mounting pressure from the opposition for the resignation of Mr Cheriyan, a senior leader who holds Cultural Affairs and Fisheries portfolios in the cabinet, top leaders of the Communist Party of India (CPI-M) met at the AKG Centre to discuss the situation.

At the same time, the party general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in New Delhi that the matter was being discussed by the state leadership and “appropriate action” would be taken.

However, after a meeting that was attended by a handful of top leaders including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, A Vijayaraghavan, and Mr Cheriyan among others, the minister said he would not resign.

Responding to questions on whether he would be resigning, Mr Cheriyan said, “Why? What is the problem? I already said what I had to say yesterday.”

At a recent event, the minister had said that the constitution of the country “condones exploitation” and is written in a way helping to “plunder” the people of the country, drawing sharp reaction from the opposition parties which sought his immediate removal from the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) cabinet.

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