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Singhvi takes up endosulfan firms’ case,angers Kerala Congressmen

This has sparked protests in the state party unit,with some demanding Singhvi’s ouster as party spokesman.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: August 6, 2011 1:56:38 am

Even as the Congress in Kerala has been spearheading a campaign against endosulfan,party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared as counsel for endosulfan manufacturers in the Supreme Court Friday. This has sparked protests in the state party unit,with some demanding Singhvi’s ouster as party spokesman.

“It was a mistake on his part. He should not have forgotten he is party spokesperson. The party will register its protest,’’ said Kerala PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala.

Senior leader V M Sudheeran,who has been at the forefront of the anti-endosulfan campaign in Kerala,demanded Singhvi’s ouster as party spokesman. “He should have stood with the prevailing mood in the party. It was a grave mistake that he appeared for the endosulfan lobby,’’ said Sudheeran.

But Congress MP from Kerala P C Chacko maintained that “the roles of party spokesperson and lawyer should be seen separately.’’

On May 13,the Supreme Court had imposed a complete ban on production,sale and use of endosulfan,following a petititon by the DYFI. Singhvi argued against the ban on Friday.

When contacted,Singhvi said: “If my friends from Kerala had checked the facts with me,they would have realised that it is a complete non-issue. I appeared for manufacturers who were fully supporting the Central government. The Central government had moved the apex court for lifting the ban on endosulfan. It was a stand fully endorsing the Central government’s application. Secondly,my plea specifically made in court was to maintain the ban in Kerala and Karnataka and to deal only in respect of other states. Thirdly,and most importantly,it was only seeking permission to export outside India. Therefore,this hullabaloo is a non-issue. Despite bad phone lines,I have also talked to Ramesh Chennithala and this clarification has sorted out everything.”

Last year too,Singhvi had faced the ire of the Kerala party unit when he appeared for a distributor of some lotteries and pleaded against the Kerala government’s decision to hike tax. The state unit had said Singhvi had blunted its campaign against other state lotteries. Singhvi later withdrew from the case.

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