Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decision to appoint advocate MK Damodaran as his honorary legal advisor has become controversial for more than one reason.
M K Damodaran appearing for the controversial lottery baron Santiago Martin in a case in the High Court has made the opposition question if the LDF government had links with the ‘Lottery King’.
Later, the CM’s statement that Damodaran was serving as his legal advisor without accepting any remuneration also caused uproar.
Now the protest has moved a step further as the CM’s own party members have started campaigning against Damodaran being the legal advisor. The agitated leaders have launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #ExpelMKDamodaran, which first appeared on the Facebook group `CPM cyber voice', as per reports.
Hundreds of CPI (M) followers have now started using this hashtag as Damodaran has been appearing in court against the government on a daily basis.
The Times of India reports that many of CPI (M)'s online supporters who were actively backing the chief minister during recent controversies have become silent as they found it nonsensical to support their leader’s view.
After a long silence, Editor of Deshabhimani (CPI (M) mouth piece) PM Manoj, who was also a part of ‘CPM cyber voice', has given a long explanation by supporting Pinarayi on Facebook.
“Legal advisor to CM doesn’t mean that he can advise CM always in every matter. Only when CM needs some guidance in legal issues he can contact the advisor. Other than that the advisor doesn’t have any other hold in government,” Manoj wrote in his post.
But even among CPI (M) sympathisers, Manoj received a negative response with most comments lambasting him. One of the comments said, “Comrade, what did we tell the UDF about Caesar's wife?“
A picture posted by a CPI(M) supporter
In November 2015, the High court’s comment on allegations against former Finance Minister KM Mani was, “Caesar's wife must be above suspicion”, which later led to Mani’s resignation.
In spite of all the criticism, Pinarayi Vijayan has been steadfast about the appointment, "Damodaran is serving as the legal advisor of the CM without accepting any remuneration. There is no bar on him to take up any brief," he said.
Taking on the chief minister, Mr Chennithala, during a submission, said the principal legal advisor of chief minister was appearing on behalf of criminals.
"He is now appearing for Martin who was shunted out of Kerala by the previous UDF government, "He said and demanded to know what was the guarantee that the lawyer would not appear for the accused in the sensational Dalit woman murder case in Perumbavoor.
Mr Sudheeran had alleged that Mr Damodaran appearing for Mr Martin was a clear indication that the LDF government has a link with the lottery king.
The leader had said it was surprising that LDF was giving more importance to Mr Martin than to the state and the people.