‘Should not give room for remarks to be misinterpreted’

Worried about the possible fallout of the open expression of anger against some leaders of the party by the Syro-Malabar Church, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran on Sunday asked party leaders to observe absolute restraint when commenting on issues.

Addressing a meeting of the KPCC campaign committee here on Sunday, Mr. Sudheeran said the party would take stringent action against those who made comments that tended to hurt the sentiments of any section or had the potential for misinterpretation by the party’s enemies.

“We should use words with great care. Our words can be misinterpreted, and taken to unintended levels,” he said, assuring the campaign committee members that he would warn V.T. Balram, MLA, against making remarks of the kind attributed to him.

The Congress MLA, according to reports, had made the remark about the Syro-Malabar Bishop of Idukki, taking exception to the harsh manner in which the Bishop had received United Democratic Front’s Idukki candidate Dean Kuriakose when he called on him seeking support.

Some members of the campaign committee raised the issue, and wanted firm action against Mr. Balram.

The KPCC president asked campaign committee chairman C.V. Padmarajan to take a serious view of all such instances, and issue appropriate instructions to the leaders concerned. The Congress and the UDF were in a strong position as the Opposition was in total disarray. It could not field party candidates in many constituencies, and there was even talk of ‘payment’ seats.

There would be attempts to divert attention from key issues by attacking party leaders, he said.

Chandy’s stance

In Kottayam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told presspersons that he would seek an explanation from Mr. Balram on his controversial remarks.

He did not personally believe that Mr. Balram would have made such a remark, but would certainly look into the matter, Mr. Chandy said in reply to persistent questions.