Kerala Minister resigns after row over remark on constitution
Thiruvananthapuram, July 6, 2022
A day after top Kerala CPI-M leader and State Minister for Culture and Fisheries Saji Cherian slammed the Indian Constitution, leading to widespread criticism from various quarters, tendered his resignation as a Minister of the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet on Wednesday.
His resignation appeared unlikely till Wednesday morning when he, after attending a high-level party meeting, confronted the media and when asked if he has resigned, shot back by saying, "Why should I resign".
But by noon, the writing was on the wall after party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri said the matter is being discussed in Kerala.
"The Kerala comrades are discussing this and appropriate action would be taken by them," said Yechuri.
And with these strong words from Yechuri, it seemed that Cherian's seat had turned hot and in the evening, he handed in his papers to Vijayan and then appeared before the media and told them about his decision.
"I spoke at a party meeting on Sunday and I have a complaint that the media did not air the full text of my speech. My commitment to the nation has always been the highest and some words of my speech have been twisted out of context and now that this has happened, I am resigning, which has been my own decision and I have sent my resignation letter to Vijayan also," said Cherian and added, "I do not wish my party to have any more problems because of me."
When asked if he will quit as a legislator also because he took the oath under the Constitution, Cherian just walked away.
Cherian on Sunday said that the Indian Constitution gives ample scope for "loot" of the people, putting the CPI-M in a spot.
Soon after the visuals of Cherian's "blatant attack" on the Constitution at a party meeting held in Pathanamthitta district became public on Tuesday, the Congress-led opposition and also the BJP in the state launched massive protests demanding his resignation.
Cherian put up a weak defence saying that he did not intend to portray the Constitution in a "poor light" and that his remark has been "misconstrued" and apologised for it.
With the protests gaining ground, the Kerala Assembly wound up its business for the day in just eight minutes.
Then the Kerala unit of the CPI-M top brass went into a huddle to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, State Congress president K. Sudhakaran said it was a shame that such a statement came from a Minister.
"The Congress will take this up legally and on Friday evening all across the state the Congress party will take a pledge supporting the Indian Constitution," said Sudhakaran.
Former Supreme Court judge and Constitutional expert K. T. Thomas said this is a serious issue and if anyone files a case, the Minister will be an accused.
"It's for the Chief Minister to decide if he needs to keep the Minister. The Minister should apologise to the nation. The Indian Constitution was written by Indians," said Thomas.