Wednesday 6 July 2022 1:49 PM UTC
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM July 6: Kerala Fisheries and Culture Minister Saji Cherian resigned today after meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a day after courting controversy with his remarks on the Constitution.
The CPIM leader criticised the Constitution during a party conference in Pathnamthitta on Monday, saying it had been turned to a tool for exploitation. He had claimed that the Constitution’s “aim is to exploit the common man”. His resignation came after the CPIM central leadership interfered and asked him to step down.
The minister described it as a personal choice. He said, “I have resigned for personal reasons. I’ve never slandered the Constitution. The media falsified a portion of the speech in order to damage the CPIM and the LDF.”
However, Cherian has resigned from his ministerial post only and not as an MLA in the Kerala assembly. The state’s Left leaders did try to protect the minister. But the stand of the central leadership overruled their position.
On Tuesday, Cherian said that the country’s Constitution was “prepared by the British,” and that it was written as such by an Indian, and that it has been in effect for the previous 75 years.
“We all think that India has a brilliantly drafted Constitution…the most important component of the country. But, I will add, a fantastic Constitution was formed in the nation, which may help to loot the greatest number of people,” the Minister had stated.
This morning, after the secretariat meeting of the CPIM attended by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Saji Cherian told the media that he would not resign from his post. However, the CPIM’s General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury, asserted that appropriate actions would be taken.
The constituent parties of the CPIM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), including the Communist Party of India (CPI), had demanded that Saji Cherian should step down from the Cabinet until the courts give their decisions.
“We all say that India has a beautifully written Constitution. But, I would say that the Constitution is written to rob most people of India. An Indian wrote a Constitution which was prepared by the British. It has been practiced in this country for 75 years,” Cherian said while addressing a party programme in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district.
“Though there are traces of a few good things such as democracy and secularism in the Constitution, its aim is to exploit the common man,” he added.
“India is a country that does not accept labour protests. If anyone asks for wages, they are beaten up. India has one of the most accepted Constitutions for exploitation,” Cherian alleged as he stressed that workers’ rights are not protected in the country.
“The poor man is exploited by using the surplus value obtained from his labour. Is the Constitution of this country protecting labourers when they work from 8-20 hours?” he asked.
The statements sparked a massive controversy with Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan seeking an explanation from the Left leader. Khan sought a video of the controversial statement from the Kerala Chief Secretary, stating that he would check whether the minister’s statements violated the Constitution and subsequently submit a report to the President.
The Congress, in opposition, demanded Cherian’s resignation and warned of legal action if he refused.
“I am a public servant who respects our Constitution and upholds its noble values I have never once intended to insult the Constitution or say anything against it,” Cherian had clarified after criticism.
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