Kochi: A day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan went hammer and tongs against new Congress chief K.Sudhakaran, the latter responded with equal fire and termed the left leader as "a mafia", saying it suits him better than anyone.
Addressing the media for an hour here on Saturday, Sudhakaran challenged Pinarayi Vijayan to look into his mafia links, since he has spoken out.
"Vijayan says I am a smuggler and have links with the sand mafia. All of you know the recent gold and dollar smuggling cases which happened with the knowledge of Vijayan. The prime accused in these cases -- Swapna Suresh for the past few years has been part and parcel of Vijayan's coterie.
She travelled with him, she stayed in the same place where he stayed and was moving together. But after the cases surfaced, when the media asked Vijayan about Swapna -- he said he doesn't know. Will any child in Kerala believe this," asked Sudhakaran.
"I challenge Vijayan to order a probe into my mafia links and if he can find any links, I will quit as president of the party. Also none should forget, bullets were recovered from his baggage. Why should he carry bullets, which means, he has a gun. I do not have any gun," added Sudhakaran.
Incidentally, it was Vijayan who opened this fresh round of debate on issues related to Government Brennen College, where both Vijayan and Sudhakaran studied and he also spoke about an incident that a friend and financier of Sudhakaran came and told him that his two children will be kidnapped by Sudhakaran.
"It was yesterday the real face of Vijayan surfaced after a long time as he was speaking in the tone and tenor of a political 'criminal'. What's most hilarious is Vijayan was responding to a stage managed question and will any father require to read out from a piece of paper about a life experience and he did have.
"He said that the kidnap incident was revealed to Vijayan by my friend and financier. Vijayan is yet to reveal the name of my friend who revealed about the kidnapping. Why is he not revealing the name and why did he not file a case then and why did he not say this to others," asked Sudhakaran.
The present standoff between the two Kannur 'lions' was expected ever since Sudhakaran was named as the new president of the Congress, but none expected it to be this fast.
Vijayan went after Sudhakaran following an interview of the Congress leader in a weekly, where he said he had kicked down Vijayan, while in college.
"In the course of my interview I had stated a few things off the record and this was one such statement and I had told him that this should not be published, but he published it and it was unethical of the journalist to do it. I have given a complaint to the weekly's editor also," said Sudhakaran.
Sudhakaran also had with him K.Gopi, one who hails from Vijayan's village, who said that in 1977 when 26 beedi workers was terminated from a society, they led a protest.
"I was leading the protest and then Vijayan with a sword led a group of people and he brandished his sword and it hit my hand and the injury mark is still there," said Gopi showing his hand.
Sudhakaran said Vijayan has publicly spoken to eliminate him and three times I have had a narrow escape.
"Ever since I became the president of Kannur Congress committee, 28 Congress workers was murdered and there is only case against the Congress. All the time Vijayan and his party portrays me as a goon. If that be the case, please let them show one case which is registered against me. They have tried their best to implicate me. All this is now being raked up by Vijayan as he wants to divert the present illegal tree felling which is a huge scam and this has been done with the knowledge of Vijayan and other ministers," said Sudhakaran.
Sudhakaran also said in his debut election in 1970 at Kuthuparampu in Kannur, it was Vijayan who had the support of the then Jan Sangh as there was adjustments in 10 seats between the CPI-M and Jan Sangh.
"After he did this and which is still continuing, he accuses me of having links with the BJP. Where is the CPI-M opposing the BJP and which state is the CPI-M now present, while all across the country, it's the Congress which is opposing the BJP," added Sudhakaran and ended his press meet by saying that personally he has nothing against Pinarayi Vijayan.