Fiery speech roasting Pillai marked Kodiyeri's House debut

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was known to be the gentle face of the CPM, but a young Kodiyeri kicked off his legislative career with all guns blazing.

Published: 03rd October 2022 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2022 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

In this file image, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan seen leaving after a press meet from AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.(Photo | B P Deepu)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was known to be the gentle face of the CPM, but a young Kodiyeri kicked off his legislative career with all guns blazing. He marked his debut in the assembly with a fiery speech levelling corruption allegations against senior members of the ruling UDF during the discussion on K M Mani’s budget for 1982-83, showed assembly records.

In his speech, Kodiyeri covered various topics ranging from issues in handloom and beedi sectors to reckless deforestation. He also quoted an Indian Express report to validate a corruption charge against power minister R Balakrishna Pillai before making a call for “discarding the budget which loots the common man”.

Kodiyeri began his address protesting against the new 3% tax on dye, which he said would spell doom for the handloom sector. Next, he unleashed a scathing criticism on Pillai. He read out a letter written by Joseph, the then superintendent engineer of the Idamalayar power project, on the contract violation by Hindustan Construction Company Ltd. According to Kodiyeri, Pillai illegally granted Rs 1.47 crore to it. 

Kerala Congress(J) member Sam Oommen quickly raised a point of order that it was improper to read out a letter without tabling it in the assembly. Kodiyeri responded that he would table the letter and that he was “raising the issue with total conviction”. Pillai then rose from his seat in self-defence. He said the ‘new member’ failed to follow the norms. “Rules specify that such an allegation has to be given in writing in advance. File records will prove my innocence, but he did not give me time for that. Maybe out of his ignorance (sic).”

CPM leader KR Gowri’s intervention added a new twist to the episode. “This is a budget discussion. The minister has plenty of time at his disposal to give a reply. Hence it is not fair to say that this issue cannot be raised here. The maximum you can demand is to table the letter. There is no rule violation here,” she noted.

Speaker Vakkom Purushothaman had to approve the former law minister’s point and ruled that Kodiyeri had only “mentioned a letter” and Pillai could respond to the allegation in his address. The Speaker’s remark added fuel to Kodiyeri’s tirade against Pillai. He went on to quote the Indian Express report on the tendering of the Kallada irrigation project.

“The report says that the government has decided to award a tender to Japanese company Hitachi ignoring companies from Hungary and Romania that quoted lesser amounts. The House wants to know Pillai’s ‘dealings’ with Hitachi.” He further alleged that forest was being looted in Kasaragod by Forest Minister K P Nooruddin’s cronies. His eventful entry into the assembly is a testimony to his courage of conviction.


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