Updated: February 6, 2021 7:27:47 am
Responding to Congress leader and MP K Sudhakaran taking a dig at his family background, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Friday said he is proud to be a toddy-tapper’s son.
“I don’t find anything wrong in being the son of a toddy-tapper. My eldest brother was a toddy-tapper. The second eldest brother too was a toddy tapper, who later moved to bakery work. I have been proud about being a toddy-tapper’s son. One can feel ashamed of being the son of a person engaged in immoral activity. There is no reason to feel so. I don’t find being the son of a toddy-tapper an insult,’’ he said.
Addressing a meeting at Kannur in the course of the statewide tour of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, state Congress working president Sudhakaran said, “He (Vijayan) came from a family of toddy-tappers. Helicopter for transporting a person who came from the house of a toddy-tapper… Vijayan, who is the apostle of the working class, is marked in history as the first CM who has hired a chopper for travelling.’’
The first objection came from within Congress with party legislator Shanimol Usman demanding an apology from Sudhakaran. Chennithala, too, said such statements should have been avoided.
The issue snowballed into a controversy after CPM leaders said that Sudhakaran’s comment reflects the Congress’s “feudal mindset”.
Responding to this, Sudhakaran said, “The issue is whether he had exploited his post for ensuring luxuries and making his family safe financially. The issue is whether Vijayan has caused loss to the state exchequer by using a helicopter.’’
Following Sudhakaran’s response, Congress leaders, too, rallied behind him. Subsequently, MLA Usman apologised for having “made a hasty reaction against Sudhakaran”.
CPM state secretary A Vijayaraghavan said: “It showed the feudal mindset of Congress and that they would not accept those who eke out an earning by toiling…”
Sudhakaran’s comment has been reckoned as an insult to Vijayan’s caste — the Hindu ‘Thiyya’ community traditionally engaged in toddy-tapping. Incidentally, Sudhakaran belongs to the same community.
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