Congress to launch agitation for Vijayan’s resignation
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress- led opposition in Kerala on Friday announced the launch of a two pronged protest to ensure that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan quits, after the NIA probing the gold smuggling case reached his office.
Speaking to the media here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan has no moral right to continue as CM as this case has reached his office.
“M. Sivasankar who was his closest aide and the tongue of Vijayan and one who oversaw his office functioning from the start of Vijayan’s tenure, has now been questioned by the NIA. It’s shameful for the people of Kerala that the NIA has arrived at Vijayan’s doorstep and yet he feigns ignorance. How on earth can he wash his hands off as he is also the Home Minister. He has to quit and face a CBI probe into the entire deals undertaken by Sivasankar,” said Chennithala.
The gold smuggling case first surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the customs department on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in the diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here and employed with the state IT Department, surfaced. The case turned full circle when its links with senior IAS official M. Sivasankar, who has been suspended and sacked from two key posts — principal secretary to Vijayan and also the State IT secretary, were unearthed.
Then another aide Arun Balachandran’s links with the smuggling gang surfaced and he too was unceremoniously removed, denting Vijayan’s image further. Balachandran was the Chief Minister’s IT Fellow and later held a key post in the IT department.
“Since there is a court directive against open protests which is effective till 31st July , we have decided to organise a state-wide protest campaign through the social media. A “Speak up Kerala” campaign is being launched. On August 1, all MPs and MLAs will stage a protest either at their home or in their office and address through the social media. Only they will be present in the protest, likewise on August 10, the second phase would be held when all the people’s representative of the Congress-led opposition would stage a similar protest. We will not stop our protests till Vijayan quits,” added Chennithala.
“We are also equally surprised at the absolute silence of the ruling Left Front allies. It is time they break their silence and come clean on the most shameful incident, where the NIA has started to knock on the doors of the Chief Minister. He must go and no two opinions on that,” added Chennithala.
The Congress protests come at a time when Sivasankar, after a five hour grilling by the NIA, has been served a notice to appear before them at their Kochi office on Monday.