Kerala Minister Saji Cheriyan resigned as Kerala's culture minister on Wednesday, a day after he courted controversy over his remarks on the Constitution, triggering a huge political row.
Terming it a personal decision, the minister said, "I have resigned and it's my personal decision. I have never ever defamed the Constitution. A particular part from the speech was taken and the media fabricated it to weaken the CPIM and the LDF."
His controversial remarks against the Constitution rocked the state assembly on Wednesday with the agitating opposition UDF forced an adjournment for the day while the ruling CPI(M) held parleys at various levels on the issue.
Though the Congress-led UDF came prepared to take up the matter as an adjournment motion in the Assembly and raised slogans against Cheriyan charging him with 'humiliating' the Constitution and its architects, Speaker M B Rajesh suddenly announced that the House was adjourned for the day.
Terming the Speaker's action as "unprecedented", the opposition leaders later met him at his office and conveyed their displeasure over his sudden decision for the early adjournment and alleged that the government and the ruling front were trying to avoid their questions.
Amidst mounting pressure from the opposition for the resignation of Cheriyan, a senior leader who holds Cultural Affairs and Fisheries portfolios in the cabinet, top leaders of the CPI(M) met at the AKG Centre here to take stock of the situation.
At the same time, the party general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in New Delhi that the matter was being discussed by the state leadership and "appropriate action" would be taken.
(with agency inputs)