Thiruvananthapuram: As Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front finds it increasingly tough to retain its minister, Thomas Chandy, who is accused of land encroachment, the Opposition Congress party in the state is facing awkwardness of a different kind: Its MP, Vivek Tankha is representing the tainted minister in the High Court.
On Tuesday, Youth Congress workers tried to detain Tankha while he was making his way to court. The workers also clashed with police who arrived to provide safe passage for the lawyer-MP. The Youth Congress workers waved black flags at the Congress MP who is arguing Chandy’s case.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, M.M. Hassan personally requested Tankha not to represent Thomas Chandy. Hassan said it was inappropriate for Tankha to represent Chandy at a time when the Congress protests to have him removed from the cabinet were reaching a crescendo. He said the Congress state unit had informed the party high command of the situation.
Former KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran was even more critical of Tankha representing Thomas Chandy, stating that Tankha’s arrival in Kerala to argue the case for the minister was “a disgrace for the Congress party”. Sudheeran said Tankha should have displayed “political propriety” while considering taking up the case of Chandy.
Senior Congressman and Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala said he would request the party top brass to prevent Tankha from appearing in court on behalf of Thomas Chandy.
Meanwhile, Chandy himself faced a torrid time on Tuesday at the High Court, when his petition against the Alappuzha district collector’s report came up for the court’s consideration.
The court strongly criticised the minister, wondering how a minister could give a petition against his own government. The court made the observation in the context of the minister going to court against the district collector’s report which had alleged violations of land use by the resort owned by him in Alappuzha district.