Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday lashed out at MLA V T Balram for his controversial remarks on social media against communist icon A K Gopalan, and said the attempt of the Congress party to protect its legislator reflected the party’s “degeneration”.
Vijayan said the young MLA’s comments were due to his “lack of discernment” and “ignorance”. He said it was for the Congress leadership to explain whether the lack of discernment was the party’s hallmark.
“The safeguarding of the MLA by Congress even after insulting AKG proves the degeneration of the party,” the chief minister said in a post on Facebook.
Balram, representing Tritala constituency in the state Assembly, had remarked on the love affair and subsequent marriage of A K Gopalan with Susheela, who was years younger to him, on Facebook on Friday.
An embarrassed Congress disowned the MLA for making the alleged remarks against Gopalan, popularly known as AKG.
But Vijayan said: “The MLA had in a nasty language humiliated AKG, who had fought for the freedom of the land carrying the flag of the Indian National Congress. He may be unaware of the history of the Congress or the life of the leader.”
The tragedy of the Congress party was that it did not have a “sensible” leadership to correct the “ignorant” MLA, he added.
Describing AKG as “an emotion of Kerala”, the chief minister also said making any disparaging remarks against him would hurt the people of the country, especially labourers and farmers.
Balram’s statements triggered a row on social media, with a large number of people coming out against the MLA.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and ministers Kadakampally Surendran and M M Mani condemned the remarks yesterday, besides Congress leaders K Muraleedharan and Shanimol Usman.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M M Hassan today rejected the MLA’s remarks and said it was not the opinion of the party.
In a Facebook post, Chennithala said not only AKG, the Congress party was against tarnishing anyone’s image.
Portraying personalities like AKG, who had served as the first opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, in bad light was not acceptable, he said.
However, he also criticised the chief minister’s Facebook post and asked why Vijayan was ignoring the slur used by his cabinet colleagues against others.
Many-time Lok Sabha MP, Gopalan, called AKG by his admirers, was popularly known as “crusader of the downtrodden”. He had also served as leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.