Kerala

Kerala Assembly Elections | Amit Shah dares Pinarayi Vijayan to come clean on allegations

Union Home Minister Amit Shah gestures during the valedictory event of the BJP’s Vijaya Yatra in Thiruvananthapuram on March 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

Reacting sharply to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's charge that the BJP government was using Central agencies for political ends, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday challenged Mr. Vijayan with a slew of questions.

Inaugurating the valedictory of the Vijaya Yatra led by BJP State president K. Surendran ahead of the Assembly elections in the State, Mr. Shah wanted the Chief Minister's reply on whether the main accused in the foreign currency and gold smuggling cases had worked in his office or not.

Mr. Vijayan should make it clear whether his government had paid the accused ₹3 lakh as monthly salary, and whether his former principal secretary had offered the accused a top job on the basis of fake certificates, he said.

Mr. Vijayan should also clarify as to whether the accused female had accompanied him and his principal secretary on foreign trips. The people of Kerala also wanted to know whether she had visited the official residence of the Chief Minister, Mr. Shah said.

Mr. Shah also demanded Mr. Vijayan to clarify whether or not the Chief Minister's office had laid undue pressure on Customs officials after they seized the smuggled gold at the airport. He also wanted to know whether a proper investigation was conducted into a “suspicious death.”

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) are merely worried about vote bank politics in Kerala, Mr. Shah alleged. Both fronts are engaged in a “healthy competition” over scams. Urging the people of Kerala to give the BJP a chance, he said that his party would transform Kerala into the 'Number One' State in the country.

Mr. Shah said the BJP was of the opinion that the interests of the devotees should be paramount in Sabarimala. He blamed the LDF government of failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic despite an effective roll-out of the vaccination programme by the Narendra Modi government.

Commending metroman E. Sreedharan for joining the BJP, Mr. Shah said he saluted before Mr. Sreedharan energy and enthusiasm.

Mr. Sreedharan, who was present, said he was prepared to take up any responsibility given to him by the party. Mr. Sreedharan said he was entering politics after nearly 67 years of service in the government. And many people have asked him why he was taking the plunge into politics at his age.

“I have only one answer to that. During this period, I was able to complete several projects for the country. I feel that I am still strong physically and mentally and can do something for Kerala. That is why I have joined the BJP,” he said.

Mr. Shah also released the logo and slogan “Puthiya Keralam Modikoppam” (The new Kerala stands with Modi) of the party for the upcoming elections. BJP State president K. Surendran presided. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan and senior BJP leaders were present.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 3:24:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/shah-challenges-cm-for-debate-on-allegations/article34014204.ece

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