THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Left leadership have chosen to stand firmly behind Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, despite widespread agitations by the UDF and the BJP seeking his resignation, in the wake of interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate last week and the NIA on Thursday.
Pinarayi reiterated his unflinching support to his cabinet colleague, saying that Jaleel and his office have done nothing wrong. “I don’t think he did anything wrong. The NIA sought some details from the minister. So he went and gave his statement. Only after checking with him, more details would be available. When there are complaints, investigation agencies try to bring in clarity. Let it take its own course,” he said at his evening briefing.
Justifying Jaleel, Pinarayi wondered why the Muslim League is targeting Jaleel over the Quran. He also ruled out questions of political morality in the matter. “There’s no issue of political morality here. He didn’t ask for the Quran. It was not smuggled. It was cleared and received by someone. They approached Jaleel since he is the Minority Welfare Minister. Why should there be complaints over the Quran? It’s the Consulate that got in touch with him, not the other way around. Why is the League and its leaders then attacking Jaleel over the Quran?” asked Pinarayi.
The CM’s backing is a clear indication on what way things would move in the CPM secretariat on Friday. Backing Jaleel, CPM central committee member M V Govindan said there was no need for the minister to quit even if a case is registered against him. Law Minister A K Balan too supported his cabinet colleague. “If one should quit over mere questioning by investigation agencies, not one would be able to rule at the Centre or state,” said Balan.
LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan pointed out that Jaleel had not indulged in any violations of the law. “No one can be attacked over mere suspicions,” he said.
Though convened to discuss local body polls, the LDF meet scheduled on Friday too is expected to discuss the matter in detail. Left ally CPI is unhappy over the entire episode, but considering the current political scenario, has chosen not to make its dissent public. Much to the relief of the CPM, CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran too stated that Jaleel need not quit over the interrogation.
Unhappiness within the Left is however clearly evident over the way things are panning out, post the Jaleel row. “The upper hand that the government used to enjoy till recently has been lost. The Left has suffered a dent in its clean image. The CPM and CPI will discuss it separately,” said a senior Left leader. The CPM state committee is set to meet on September 26.
‘Jaleel need not quit’
Much to the relief of the CPM, CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran too stated that Jaleel need not quit over interrogation
LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan said no one can be attacked over mere suspicions.