Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday hit streets in Kochi, campaigning for the party candidates in the upcoming state Assembly elections. The minister held a roadshow in Tripunithura, a suburb of Kochi city, as part of his election campaign. Speaking to reporters during the roadshow, Shah targeted Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the gold smuggling case, asking him to explain whether his former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was involved in the scam. Justifying the role of central agencies in investigating the case, Shah said, â€śIf any scam happens in India, if not the ED, will any UN agency perform an investigation?â€ť
Justifying the investigation by central agencies in the scam, he said if any scandal takes place in the country, it will be probed by the Indian agencies and not those from the United Nations. Shah also claimed the people of Kerala see the BJP as an alternative to the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).
The Union Home Minister also hit out at Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan by bringing up the involvement of his former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar in the ongoing gold smuggling case. â€śHe must give an answer. Was his principal secretary involved in the case or not? If he was, then he (the CM) has no right to question us; he must answer to the public as to why he chose a Principal Secretary who is involved in smuggling.â€ť
Senior BJP leader KS Radhakrishnan is the party's candidate in Tripunithura, which is considered as an "A" class constituency by its leadership. The roadshow started at East Fort of Thripunithura, capital of the erstwhile Kochi kingdom, and culminated near the Poornathrayeesa temple. Hundreds of sloganeering BJP workers and supporters holding party flags accompanied the open vehicle carrying Shah.
People in large numbers gathered on either side of the road and cheered as the senior BJP leader greeted them from the top of a decorated mini truck. When asked about the chances of BJPâ€™s victory in the elections, Shah said, â€śThe people of Kerala are frustrated with the corrupt LDF and UDF governments and are looking for another option. I think the BJP is that option,â€ť he said.
After concluding the 30-minute programme that commenced at 11.10 am, Shah left for Kanjirappally in Kottayam district to participate in a public meeting organised in Ponkunnam. Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP K J Alphonse is the party candidate in Kanjirappally constituency.
At Kanjirapally, Shah further hit out at the LDF and UDF and the various scams that took place during their rule. â€śWhen the UDF came to power it was the solar scam, now it is dollar and gold smuggling,â€ť he said. He also brought up the protests by the PSC rank holders in the state.
"The left parties run Public Service Commission via remote controls to provide govt posts to their cadre", he said in an apparent reference to the protests organised by job aspirant youths in front of the secretariat recently against the government' alleged nepotism.
"Due to this, even after getting high ranks in PSC, a student committed suicide because of no jobs! Why? Only because he wasn't from your cadre?" he asked.
In his address, the Union Home Minister also highlighted the development works carried out by the BJP-led central government in the state to seek votes for the party candidates.
"It is time to change this UDF-LDF alternating governments in the state. While Narendra Modi is leaping with development, Kerala is submerged in scams," Shah further added.
"It is time to bring a change in Kerala. Senior bureaucrats such as E Sreedharan are also joining the BJP because they know only the BJP can help develop Kerala further under the leadership of PM Modi. LDF-UDF cannot", he said.
(With inputs from PTI)