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After a successful campaign for the ouster of Industries Minister E. P. Jayarajan -- No.2 in the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet -- over nepotism charges, a buoyant Congress-led Opposition on Monday trained its guns on the Kerala Chief Minister himself.
Jayarajan on Friday resigned after coming under attack for appointing two relatives to top posts in Kerala state public sector enterprises (PSUs).
On Monday, Congress legislator V. D. Satheeshan moved an adjournment motion seeking a discussion in the assembly on Vijayan's role in the appointments made by Jayarajan.
"We have documents to prove that the agency concerned (RIAB) to select candidates for top posts in the state PSUs submitted a list, of which only six were selected and the remaining 11 were selected from outside the list. As per the information we have, Vijayan was in the know of things as all files concerning the appointments were sent to him," said Satheesan.
Vijayan, in his reply, said all appointment files need not be seen by the Chief Minister and this case (appointments made by Jayarajan) was also like that.
"You (Congress) people can never ever imagine of doing what Jayarajan did. He quit the moment this surfaced, while during your time, you only gave excuses one after another.
Jayarajan quit to prove that we stand by values," said Vijayan.
As per the rules of the assembly, a Minister, who resigns while the house is in session, is allowed to speak on the issue -- and Jayarajan, in an emotionally-charged speech, lashed out at the Opposition and the media.
He said they (Opposition and the media) were after his blood, as they were backed by a mafia, which was against the changes that he undertook during the four months he was in charge of the industries portfolio.
"Money has changed hands and the mafia was against me continuing as Minister, because I decided to revive a few units and this irked the mafia. I have done no wrong and I only went by the rules in appointments," said Jayarajan.
He also reminded the Opposition that he would be in the House and in due course of time, he would come out with more revelations against the Opposition.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, before leading the entire Opposition out of the House, said Jayarajan should be clear on who the mafia was.
"This is a joke when the CPI-M claims they uphold values and that's why Jayarajan resigned. The truth is Jayarajan was caught red-handed doing a crime. We fail to understand what values is the CPI-M speaking of," countered Chennithala.
He said: "There are files to prove that Vijayan was in the know of things of the appointments that Jayarajan made, but Vijayan has wriggled out by making Jayarajan the scapegoat. We demand that all appointments made in the Industries Department be placed in the House."
"Vijayan can't run away from the responsibility, as everyone knows that without his knowledge, nothing moves in the government. So, he is equally responsible," said Sudheeran.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)