Congress workers march to Raj Bhavan against Cheriyan's re-induction as Kerala minister

Saji Cheriyan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan

Thiruvananthapuram: Several Congress activists on Wednesday marched to Raj Bhavan against the re-induction of Saji Cheriyan as a minister in the Kerala cabinet, months after the CPI(M) leader resigned following a furore over his alleged remarks against the Constitution.

The party announced a series of protest programmes across the state against Cheriyan's swearing-in before getting a clean chit from the court in the controversy.

The swearing-in ceremony would be held at Raj Bhavan later in the evening.

Inaugurating the protest march, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan said Cheriyan had to quit his ministership as he had insulted the Constitution.

"There is no change in the circumstance even now and no court has exonerated him till date. Cases against him are pending before both the magistrate court and high court," he said.

The decision to re-induct him in the cabinet before a final decision comes from the court amounts to insulting the Constitution, the Congress leader said adding that the party could not accept this at any cost.

The opposition BJP also staged protests in several parts of the state against the ruling CPI(M)'s decision to re-induct Cheriyan in the Cabinet.

Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the party's 'Constitution Protection Day' programme here against the swearing-in of the minister.

It is for the first time in the history that a minister, who had to quit for insulting the Constitution is being brought back to the cabinet, he claimed.

It was the biggest proof that the Communist party does not believe in the Constitution, he further charged.

The CPI(M) leader had resigned in July last year from the state Cabinet over his alleged remarks against the Constitution during a speech in Pathanamthitta district and the lodging of a criminal case against him in that connection.

The CPI(M) decided last week to bring him back into the Cabinet and sent a letter to the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday seeking his convenience for administering the oath of office to the MLA on January 4.

Khan on Tuesday said he has approved Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's recommendation to re-induct Saji Cheriyan as a minister.


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