Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (Screengrab, Copyrights: The Indian Express)
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The day-long ‘Speak up Kerala’ Satyagraha that was inaugurated online by AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, on Monday, demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after “nepotism and corruption brought shame” to the state.

“Pinarayi Vijayan is the Modi of Kerala. The voice of Kerala is going to get stronger and none can crush it, even though Vijayan will try to do it. The gold smuggling case and numerous other corruption scandals that have surfaced under Vijayan’s watch have brought shame to the state,” said Wasnik.

“These protests cannot be crushed as this is ‘Satyagraha’ and truth will always triumph. We will force Vijayan to resign as he has failed in all respects. Just see what’s happening on the Covid front, the stage is such that there is even a community spread. Just look at the way how rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of two floods have failed miserably. This ‘Speak up campaign’ has come at the right time. The Vijayan government has to resign,” added Wasnik.

The ‘Speak up Kerala’ campaign is the one where MLAs and MPs belonging to the UDF will sit either at their house or office, staging a day-long protest against the Vijayan government. The second phase will take place on August 10, when similar protests would be held in over 23,000 wards in the state.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala who is sitting in protest as part of the campaign, in the state capital, said Vijayan is using the Covid pandemic as the opportunity to engage in corruption and nepotism and never before has Kerala’s name and fame been shamed when the office of Vijayan has been ‘caught’ in the gold smuggling case.

“The state Intelligence and the Vigilance have been reduced to mere onlookers. The partners in crime used the office of Vijayan. But he claims he was not aware, if so what was the Intelligence doing. Likewise, when the news surfaced, he remained silent and despite my request to order a vigilance probe, nothing has happened. In two days time, I, myself will approach the vigilance court seeking a probe,” said Chennithala.

Taking part in the protest from Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that it was a shock to see that even the UAE Consulate was manipulated by those who engaged in gold smuggling.

“I know that I had to lobby quite hard in the UAE to get this Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram and see what has happened. The name ‘Speak up Kerala’ is an apt one and I see it in two ways — the entire state should speak up and also speak up for Kerala,” said Tharoor.

Senior UDF ally and veteran legislator P.J. Joseph of the Kerala Congress (Mani) speaking from his house in Idukki district said Chennithala has been up in arms bringing out numerous corruptions of the Vijayan government and the stage has come that each and every issue raised by him has now been proved right and it’s now the talking point in Kerala.

The gold smuggling case first surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, here was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.

It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, here and employed with the IT Department, surfaced and it turned the full circle when their links with M. Sivasankar, a senior IAS officer who held the dual post of secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and was also the State IT secretary, were unearthed.

Following the case Sivasankar was first removed from both the posts and later suspended from service.

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