'Graver than Pillai's Punjab model speech': Pasha on Cheriyan's comment

Saji Cheriyan, B Kemal Pasha

Kochi: Kerala Minister Saji Cheriyan has no right to continue in the post after denigrating the Constitution of India, observed former Kerala High Court Judge B Kemal Pasha.

What the minister said was unbecoming of any literate person, he said referring to the controversial comments of the CPM legislator and State Fisheries and Culture minister stating that the Constitution has been written in such a way that it helps exploit the people of our country. Pasha also termed the comments as violation of oath of office as minister.

Recalling the infamous 'Punjab Model' speech of late Kerala Congress leader R Balakrishna Pillai, Pasha said Cheriyan's comments were 'four times graver' than the former.

Pillai made the controversial speech, which was later marked in Kerala’s political history as ‘Punjab Model’, at a Kerala Congress meeting in Kochi in May 1985. The speech was then construed to be secessionist and one that encouraged terrorism.

“If Kerala will get industries only if it toes the Punjab line, we will consider it. A separate nation should be formed here also,” Pillai thundered at the meeting, even as Punjab was reeling under terrorism and the Khalistan movement.

Pillai was referring to the Centre shifting to Kapurthala, Punjab, a railway coach factory that had been allotted to Kerala.

After the media interpreted the speech as ‘Punjab Model,” and sparked controversy, the son of Congress leader K M Chandy moved the High Court, saying Pillai had violated the oath of office. Pillai resigned after the court made adverse remarks.

Minister Cheriyan courted controversy while speaking during a CPM programme at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta, on Tuesday.

“We all say we have a beautifully written Constitution; the most valued in the country. I would say, it has been written in such a way that the most number of people in India can be robbed and exploited beautifully. The Indians just adopted a constitution prepared and directed by the British and it is being implemented in the country for 75 years now. I would not agree with whoever speaks in the country, for it. I would still say it is the most beautiful constitution to help exploit common man,” Cheriyan.

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