Even as the Left continued to demand the sacking of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien, the Congress decided to demonstrate its complete support to him.
On Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath will make a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the allegations levelled against Mr. Kurien in the 17-year-old Suryanelli gang rape case, stressing that courts have exonerated him.
As a prelude to this, the Minister met leaders of various political parties on Thursday, the opening day of the budget session, to seek their cooperation in running Parliament smoothly. During the meeting, the Left parties told him they wanted to discuss both the Kurien issue and the bank strike in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Strengthening the Congress’ line on Mr. Kurien was the unexpected support of the Samajwadi Party for the beleaguered Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson. “A 17-year-old case settled by the courts cannot be raked up against a person. The courts have said there is no case against him. He should not step down,” SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said here on Thursday.
Mr. Yadav’s statement came a day after Mr. Kurien wrote to all Rajya Sabha MPs saying that the case against him was a trumped-up one.