Congress MLA sparks row over remarks against Communist icon AK Gopalan

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress MLA V T Balram has courted controversy by allegedly making some unsavoury remarks against Communist icon, the late A K Gopalan, triggering widespread criticism cutting across party lines. While the ruling CPI(M) urged Congress to take action against the young MLA, who represents Tritala constituency in the Assembly, a section of Congress leaders also rubbished his statements, saying it was not the party’s culture. A many time Lok Sabha MP, Gopalan, called AKG by his admirers,was popularly known as “crusader of the downtrodden”.

He had also served as the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. Balram, in a Facebook post yesterday, had made some objectionable remarks about the love affair and marriage of Gopalan with his wife Susheela, who was much younger to him. He also posted the copy of a newspaper article and some pages of AKG’s autobiography to “justify” his comments. The remarks triggered a widespread row on social media with a large number of people coming out against the MLA.

Strongly deploring the comments, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan today said Congress President Rahul Gandhi and veteran leader A K Antony should make their stand clear on the issue. “Congress is a party which expelled Mani Shankar Aiyar for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as neech aadmi,” he said. “Rahul Gandhi and A K Antony should make clear their stand towards this MLA, who had insulted freedom fighter AKG, who was also an earlier Congress leader, through humiliating remarks after his death,” he said.

Ministers M M Mani and Kadakampally Surendran also attacked Balram. Cutting across politics, Congress leaders K Muraleedharan and Shanimol Usman also criticised the MLA. While Muraleedharan termed the remarks as “unfortunate” and “not the Congress culture”, Shanimol said the comments were not in good taste. Meanwhile, a group of activists of Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of CPI(M), today took out a march at Tritala, the MLA’s constituency in Palakkad district, demanding that he apologise over the social media remarks.