In the limelight for reportedly coming under attack at a meeting of ruling CPI(M) legislators Kerala PWD and Tourism Minister PA Muhammad Riyas on Friday denied any such occurrence, while defending his comments on the nexus between officials and government contractors. Interacting with media at his hometown Kozhikode, Riyas, who is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, refuted media reports about him being reprimanded at the meeting of legislators.
Riyas had recently in Assembly stated that it was not good that MLAs bring contractors along with them while coming to meet ministers. A section of media on Thursday reported that the CPI(M) legislators were peeved with Riyas's statement and that the minister reportedly 'admitted his mistake' in the meeting. Meanwhile, opposition Leader and Congress' VD Satheesan had openly criticised this, asking Minister Riyas to specify which MLA came with a contractor rather than sounding like all legislators behave the same way.
Amid this, Riyas on Friday denied that he apologised for his 'mistake'. "I stand by what I have said (in the Assembly) and I will not go back an inch from what I have said. At times, there is an unholy nexus between contractors and government officials... this is known to all. At the party meeting of legislators, the media reported that I had apologised for my statement, but no such thing has happened as I only reiterated the stand of the Left Democratic Front," he told media.
Meanwhile LDF Convenor A Vijayaraghavan met media, stating that Riyas has made clarifications as per the general directions given by the party in such matters.
Reacting to the issue, veteran former Congress legislator KC Joseph took a dig at the CPI(M), saying Riyas might not be referring about Congress lawmakers arriving with contractors to meet him, but "other" legislators.