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UDF walkout in Assembly over appointment row

UDF walkout in Assembly over appointment row

Thiruvananthapuram: Days after resignation of Industries Minister E P Jayarajan over alleged nepotism in appointments in PSUs, Congress-led UDF opposition members Monday staged a walkout in the state assembly demanding that the role of the Chief Ministers' office be included in the ambit of the Vigilance probe.

The House witnessed heated exchanges between members of ruling and opposition benches when a notice for an adjournment motion seeking a debate over the issue was moved by the opposition.

Replying to the notice for the motion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan denied the opposition charge that he was aware of the postings. The appointments were made in accordance with rules and procedures by the departments concerned, he said.

Vijayan said Jayarajan expressed his desire to resign to uphold the values and ethics in politics and the party had accepted it. The UDF was using the opportunity to attack the LDF government which is going on in right direction, he said.

Making a statement in the House, Jayarajan said he was being "hunted by a mafia that controls PSUs from outside."

Asserting that the postings were done in accordance with law, he said a section of media also joined the campaign to oust him from the ministry as he did not yield to the pressure of "outside forces, that were controlling the PSUs."

He alleged that media was even "paid" to continue the campaign against him for the last 12 days. "You (opposition) wanted my blood, you got it", Jayarajan said in his emotional speech.

Jayarajan also alleged that PSUs were in bad shape during the previous UDF rule due to "inept" administration.

Attacking the government, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said it was difficult to believe that the postings in key positions in PSUs were done without the knowledge of the Chief Minister.

Hitting hard at Jayarajan, Chennithala said the former Industries Minister had recommended for appointments on his letter pad to Industries Secretary.

Resignation of Jayarajan was an attempt to wriggle out of the situation and save the government's image by making him a scapegoat, Chennithala said, adding, the role of the Chief Minister's office should also be probed by the Vigilance.

Appointment of P K Sudheer, Jayarajan's nephew and son of CPI(M) Kannur MP P K Sreemathi, as the Managing Director of Kerala State Industrial Enterprises Ltd had triggered the row.

After the reply of Chief Minister, Speaker P Sreeramakrishan refused leave for the motion moved by V D Sateeshan (Cong), following which UDF opposition staged walkout.

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