Anti-Constitution remark: Kerala's Culture Minister Saji Cheriyan resigns, but does not apologise

Kerala's Culture Minister Saji Cheriyan, whose anti-Constitution remarks had caused quite a furore, has resigned.

The minister's resignation came at the end of a Cabinet meeting and a lengthy discussion with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Cheriyan claimed that the decision to step down was personal and not forced upon him.

"It is my personal decision that it is not right for me to continue as a minister. Hence, I'm resigning from my minister-ship," Cheriyan told mediapersons on Wednesday.

"I understand that the chief minister sought the legal advice of the advocate general on my speech. I don't know what advice he received but I've taken a personal decision and have communicated the same to the chief minister," he added.

Cheriyan, however, dodged the questions on whether he'll also resign his MLA post.

In his address that was read out, Cheriyan refused to apologise. Rather, he reiterated that his words were twisted.

Cheriyan said that the media only telecast a few minutes from his hour-long speech. "I used my style of speech. I never imagined my words would be treated as an insult to the Constitution.

“However, some of my words are used widely to create confusion. It is intended to weaken the initiatives of the left democratic front and the state government. As my speech is being used for the purpose, as a responsible public servant, the misinterpretation of my speech has made me sad," he said.

It is understood that the CPM national leadership had advised the minister to step down considering the furore his remarks had caused. CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury reportedly nodded in favour of the minister's resignation.

Cheriyan had courted controversy with his remarks against the Constitution at a CPM event at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta on July 3.

In his public address at Mallappally, Cheriyan had claimed that the Constitution was prepared as directed by the British and that it wasn't meant to protect the commoners.

Cheriyan had said: "The words secularism and democracy have been thrown here and there. But the Constitution is clearly being used to exploit commoners."

The opposition parties had raised their voice and refused to back off until the minister stepped down. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had passed the ball to Pinarayi Vijayan, expressing faith in his judgment.

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