Lambasting Congress MLA VT Balram for his comment on Communist leader AK Gopalan’s marriage, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called it an act of "ridiculing a mass leader".
On Friday, the Thrithala Congress MLA kicked up a storm when he put up a Facebook post questioning AKG's moral character for marrying a woman who was several years younger to him, and that too, while he was still legally married to his first wife.
In a strongly worded FB post published on Sunday, the CM asked the Congress to explain whether a lack of discernment was the trademark of the party. He also said that the Congress trying to protect its MLA only reflects the degeneration of the party.
"The MLA who has ridiculed a great mass leader, who had fought for the freedom of the nation holding the flag of India National Congress, may not be aware either of the history of the Congress or the life of AKG. It's a lack of discernment and mark of stupidity. The Congress should explain if it is the party's trademark,” the post reads.
He further stated, "AKG is an emotion for Kerala. He is an icon who has never died in the hearts of the people. He is a warrior of the poor. The act of tainting the reputation of that great life is similar to inflicting a wound on the heart of the working class, the farmers and the laymen of the country. The tragedy of the Congress is that there is no mature leadership in the party to advice the MLA who lacks discernment. I sympathise with the party for not taking any action even after the criticism to the MLA's comment."
Pinarayi said that Balaram's comments have not only hurt AKG and his wife Susheela Gopalan, who was also a beloved leader of the working class, but the self -esteem of the land as well,” the post said.
"It is better for the khadi- wearing people, who have forgotten Nehru and the freedom fight, to remember that having a lack of knowledge, a hunger for publicity and a defiant attitude shouldn’t come at a cost of an attack on the emotions of crores of people. I wish the Congress had the sense to understand that the act has not only hurt AKG and his wife and the beloved leader of the working class Susheela Gopalan, but the self-esteem of the land as well," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Commitee President MM Hassan has also called Balram's statement wrong. The statement of Balram is not that of the Congress, he said.
"I have spoken to Balram about it. He said that it was a personal statement made during a social media discussion. I told him that such a statement should not have been made, even personally," Hassan told media.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that Congress doesn't approve of such statements. "The party doesn't agree to personally tarnishing anyone's image. Portraying personalities like AKG in a bad light is not acceptable," he said in a Facebook post. However, he also asked why the Chief Minister is silent when his cabinet colleagues use slur against others.
What has offended many is VT Balram's insinuation that AK Gopalan was a paedophile who fell in love with his second wife Susheela while she was about 12 or 13 years old.
Balram first accused AKG of being a paedophile as a reply to a comment by a Facebook user who had questioned the alleged sexual harassment of Saritha Nair by various Congress leaders.