Kerala opposition walks out over Achuthanandan’s office feud

December 10th, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 10 (IANS) The entire Kerala opposition Wednesday walked out of the state assembly, claiming that the factionalism in Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was hampering work at Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s office.Moving an adjournment motion, senior opposition legislator K.M. Mani asked Achuthanandan to reply to senior bureaucrat K. Suresh Kumar’s accusation that the chief minister’s private secretary S. Rajendran was not helping his boss out.

Rajendran had spoken about a coterie at the chief minister’s office. Kumar served as additional private secretary to Achuthanandan till last year.

“His revelations have proved our stand that there is a constitutional deadlock as Achuthanandan’s office is caught in the factional feud of the CPI-M. The official has been served a show-cause notice yesterday for violating service rules, but the larger issue of his revelations is yet to be answered by chief minister,” said Mani.

In his reply, Achuthanandan said Kumar’s revelations were baseless.

“He was not my additional private secretary, instead he was the additional secretary in the office of the secretary to chief minister and he does not have any role in the functioning of the chief minister,” he said.

But there was chaos in the assembly when Achuthanandan blamed the opposition for raking up baseless issues.

“All of us know Mani’s role in the Sister Abhaya murder case. Slowly his role in the murder is coming to light and I know you are all disturbed by that, and hence you are raising other issues to divert attention,” said Achuthanandan.

Opposition members then marched to the speaker’s podium, demanding that the chief minister’s reference to Mani in the Abhaya murder case be withdrawn.

After Speaker K. Radhakrishnan intervened, Achuthanandan withdrew his statement but maintained that it was the truth.

Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy reminded Achuthanandan that he had praised Kumar for his capability earlier.

“You yourself praised Kumar’s role in the Munnar demolition issue and the work done by him as lotteries director. But your silence on the issues raised by Kumar regarding the functioning of your office means you have accepted all what he has said. Yesterday the whole of Kerala saw you having a friendly discussion with Kumar at your residence. This is a shame,” Chandy said before leading the walkout by the opposition.

Kumar ran into trouble after he reacted against Rajendran’s remarks at a state committee meeting of the (CPI-M) Saturday. Rajendran said Achuthanandan was surrounded by a coterie that dictated his every action.

Kumar, managing director of the State Agricultural Cooperative Bank, said in a media interview Sunday that Rajendran never helped Achuthanandan and instead delayed action on crucial files.

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