The Congress on Sunday termed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s tirades against corruption and nepotism a bluff in wake of revelations that state Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, the No.2 in the government, appointed his close relatives at top posts in the state’s public sector organisations. “No one would have forgotten when during the assembly elections (in May), Vijayan and the CPI-M said they will fight corruption and all such evils and see what has happened when qualifications have been given the go by and relatives of top CPI-M leaders have been appointed to senior posts in the state public sector,” the Congress’s state President V M Sudheeran told reporters here.
Jayarajan has no moral right to continue in office and must quit at the earliest, he demanded. Leader of Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that the Vijayan government should cancel all such appointments.
The appointment of P K Sudhir as Managing Director of Kerala State Industrial Enterprise (KSIE) last week had raised a furore even in the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). As social media first took it up in a big way, followed by the media, the appointment was cancelled. Sudhir is Jayarajan’s nephew besides being the son of CPI-M’s Kannur Lok Sabha member P K Sreemathy. A niece of Jayarajan’s was also appointed to a top post.
Among others who have been appointed to top posts are the grandson of party veteran E K Nayanar and several kin of top CPI-M leaders. Incidentally, in the first cabinet meeting after Vijayan was sworn in, it was decided to look into all decisions made by the outgoing Oommen Chandy government and recommend such decisions for a vigilance probe.
However, as soon as these cases cropped up, Chennithala and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M T Ramesh wrote to Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas that a probe should be initiated in all the appointments of top CPI-M leaders’ relatives. Former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said that the image of the CPI-M government has been dented because of all these appointments.
CPI-M politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai, however, said there is no need for the politburo to intervene as the issue would be sorted out in Kerala itself. “It has already begun,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vijayan on Sunday failed to respond to media queries on the issue. With the assembly session already seeing disruptions over the opposition’s allegations of collusion between the Vijayan government and the private medical college managements over the hike in fees, the Congress appears to have got another weapon to use against Vijayan, when the house reassembles on October 17 after the Puja break.