In storm over nepotism, Kerala Opposition targets CM

Congress leader demands role of chief minister be discussed in appointments

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: As Kerala’s state assembly held its first meeting after the resignation of industry minister E.P. Jayarajan on nepotism charges, the Opposition United Democratic Front took the battle to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Congress leader, V.D. Satheesan, pressed for an adjournment motion in the assembly on Monday, demanding that the role of the chief minister be also discussed in the appointment of Jayarajan’s kith and kin to state-owned enterprises.

Pinarayi Vijayan denied the allegations, saying he had nothing to do with the appointments.

The chief minister said there were procedures, like the vigilance department having to vet the appointments at senior levels, and he need not see all the files pertaining to such appointments.

Earlier, Jayarajan also explained his stance, adding there had been a “conspiracy” to oust him from his position.

Jayarajan, who was the second-in-command in the cabinet, and a heavyweight within the Communist Party of India — Marxist (CPM), was relegated to a seat in the second row of the assembly on Monday, after having resigned as minister.

The chief minister said Jayarajan had resigned because he held on to some principles, and that it would be difficult for the Opposition to understand that decision.

In a related development, the vigilance department informed the court that preliminary investigation was on into the allegation that Jayarajan had appointed his family members and relatives to different public sector organisations in his capacity as industry minister.

The court has asked for a report by October 21.

V.D. Satheesan said it was difficult to believe that Jayarajan’s relatives could be appointed to top positions in government enterprises without the knowledge of the chief minister.

Satheesan alleged that the Left Democratic Front government which came to power by swearing to root out corruption, had in only a few months been exposed for a number of corrupt actions.

The speaker, however, turned down Satheesan’s plea for an adjournment motion on the issue, triggering an Opposition walk out from the House.