Congress leaders should advise Rahul Gandhi to withdraw statement urging ED to arrest Pinarayi Vijayan, says Brinda Karat

Mr. Gandhi, while speaking at a public meeting in Kannur, asked why the BJP and Central agencies were ignoring what he termed as serious allegations against Mr. Vijayan

April 19, 2024 03:18 pm | Updated April 21, 2024 03:00 pm IST - KOCHI

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat (file)

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat (file)

Congress leaders of Kerala should advise Rahul Gandhi to withdraw his statement inviting the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to arrest Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat has said.

Speaking at a meet-the-press organised in Kochi on Friday, Ms. Karat termed Mr. Gandhi’s statement shocking and added that he was strengthening the cause of the BJP by demanding the arrest of the foremost Opposition leader who was fighting the BJP and the Union government on all issues. “We do not care what he says. But we care that he is helping the BJP and RSS,” she said.

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“It is unbecoming of a Congress leader to incite ED action against Mr. Vijayan who is leading the LDF government in Kerala. The statement of Mr. Gandhi was condemnable and shameful, especially at a time when Central government agencies, including the ED, the Income Tax department and the CBI, are out targeting Opposition leaders,” she said.

She said the CPI(M) had earlier criticised the arrest of the two Chief Ministers by the ED at a time when the country was going to polls. The party had strongly condemned the expulsion of Mr. Gandhi from Parliament, the freezing of accounts of the Congress and the attempts to term the entire Gandhi family as corrupt. The party had never demanded the arrest of any members of the Gandhi family. The party adopted such a stance after adopting some principled positions,” she said.

“The INDIA alliance had also jointly condemned the arrest of Hemant Soren and Arvind Kejriwal. Yet, Mr. Gandhi had no qualms about inviting the ED to arrest Mr. Vijayan,” she said.

Incidentally, Mr. Gandhi, while speaking at a public meeting in Kannur on April 18, wondered why the BJP and Central agencies were ignoring what he termed as serious allegations against Mr. Vijayan while they were after him. Mr. Gandhi, who referred to the ED arrests of the two Chief Ministers, also sought to know why Mr. Vijayan did not face similar consequences despite allegations of corruption being raised against him.

Terming the statements of Mr. Gandhi “condemnable”, Ms. Karat urged the Congress leadership to look into the issue. She said the BJP was using all the government powers to eliminate the Opposition in the country. The CPI(M) decided to join the INDIA alliance to save the country from the BJP-RSS regime and to protect its Constitutional values, she added.

Ms. Karat refrained from answering a question on the investigations launched against T. Veena, the daughter of the Kerala Chief Minister, by stating that it would be “improper” for her to comment on the issue at a time when investigations were under way. “Ms. Veena shall not be denied natural justice and the right to defend herself,” she said.

The CPI(M) leader said it is the UDF MPs of Kerala “who failed to raise their voice in Parliament for the people of the State” were facing anti-incumbency sentiments and not the Kerala government that “stood for the people braving the efforts of the BJP-RSS government at the Centre to choke it.”

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