Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is too experienced for anyone to even think of extending him a political advice. Yet, it seems he should be urgently offered one particular piece of wisdom: Ignore Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan's provocations, however humiliating and ruthless it could be.
What happened in the Assembly last year in June should have sufficiently warned him. Then, Vijayan was badly provoked when Kuzhalnadan in quite an even tone informed the house that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the consultancy that recommended Swapna Suresh to the IT Department's Space Park, had close ties with Vijayan's daughter Veena Vijayan.
Vijayan responded like he had heard the most outrageous thing ever. Adopting a menacing body language, he called Kuzhalnadan a liar and insisted that his daughter had no such connections.
The very next day Kuzhalnadan called a press conference and effectively proved his charge. The Chief Minister, wisely enough, had never uttered a word about it thereafter.
This should have given enough cause for the Chief Minister not to let himself be worked up by Kuzhalnadan's diatribes. But on Thursday in the Assembly, when Kuzhalnadan was at his provocative best, Vijayan let go off his guard.
Kuzhalnadan was moving an adjournment motion against what he alleged was the LDF Government's attempts to protect a CPM councillor in a narcotics case.
Kuzhalnadan, like his senior and opposition leader V D Satheesan, does not hold back when he takes on the CPM. What makes Kuzhalnadan's criticism far more withering is the researcher's conviction he brings to his speeches in the Assembly.
Kuzhalnadan said it was a CPM trait to support and protect such dangerous mafia groups.
He gave the example of the former illicit liquor king Manichan, who was recently released from jail. He quoted a Supreme Court observation that said, on the basis of the voluminous evidence in front of it, that the king of spurious liquor had purchased political leaders. "Have you taken action against leaders who were found associated with Manichan," he asked.
And then to round off his argument, Kuzhalnadan said that half the men who climb the steps of the party now do it on the strength of their ill-gotten money secured from the sale of drugs.
Though excise minister M B Rajesh was supposed to respond, it was an angry Chief Minister who stood up. He seemed as angry as he was when Kuzhalnadan had put his daughter in the dock, and used almost the same imposing tone. "What does he think of the CPM," he asked. "Is this how he should speak. Can he just say anything that comes to his mind. There should be a limit to everything," Vijayan said.
The opposition leader was quick to respond to the Chief Minister's rebuke. He said it was he who deputed Kuzhalnadan to speak and that all of Kuzhalnadan's arguments, even if made with great aggression, were backed by sufficient evidence. This was a hint of what was about to come.