Row a result of misunderstanding: Chandy

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that the State government would examine the controversial circular permitting registration of marriages of Muslim girls above 16 years of age and issue necessary clarifications.

The Chief Minister was speaking to the media after a Cabinet meeting that discussed the issue and sought the view of the Law Secretary on the matter.

Mr. Chandy said the controversy was the result of a misunderstanding and the matter would be clarified. The permission was aimed at regularising marriages that had already taken place.

He said that bifurcation of Malappuram district was not on the agenda of the government. New districts were a matter to be considered by the State Planning Board.

Thettayil issue

Asked about the allegations (of sexual misdemeanour) about Janata Dal (Secular) legislator Jose Thettayil and the reluctance of the United Democratic Front (UDF) to press for his resignation, the Chief Minister said morality depended on one’s definition of it.

As to the allegations against Mr. Chandy (on the solar scam), he said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) could demand his resignation and he could refuse to oblige. However, every allegation being made by the LDF against him was getting disproved, he added.

Mr. Chandy said Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan was taking the liberty to say anything and this was unfortunate. He (Mr. Achuthanandan) had every right to go on appeal against the High Court verdict rejecting his petition for implicating him (Mr. Chandy) in the palmolein case. However, it was to be noted that the case was investigated between 1996 and 2000 when the LDF government was in power. He was not listed as an accused but as a witness in the case. If the investigation was not proper, Mr. Achuthanandan could have ordered a reinvestigation later when he became the Chief Minister. However, he chose to file a petition against him (Mr. Chandy) only during election time. Propaganda against him was the only purpose of the petition.

Asked whether there was a decline in political discourse in the State, Mr. Chandy said it was for individuals and political parties to draw the line. However, it was better for public men to practise moderation. This was what the Congress and the UDF were doing.

He said the ongoing controversies had not affected issues of concern to the people. The government had not failed to discuss any issue of concern to the people. The Speaker had been liberally allowing discussion in the Assembly, even allowing the same issue to be raised again and again.

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