Cong leaders rally behind MP Sudhakaran, say he did not make any abusive remark against Ker CM

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Kozhikode, Feb 5 (PTI) In a sort of u-turn, several Congress leaders on Friday sought to play down the controversial remark of party MP K Sudhakaran against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, saying it was not abusive.

A day after the Congress disciplinary committee said it will look into the matter, party general secretary K C Venugopal said the statement was made in a colloquial manner.

Leader of the opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala said his observation on Thursday that such remarks should have been avoided was a 'general statement' and maintained he later learnt Sudhakaran had not made any abusive comment.

Lone woman Congress MLA Shanimol Usman, who had earlier lashed out at Sudhakaran for his remarks, tendered an 'unconditional' apology to the MP saying she shouldhave spoken to him before reacting.

Speaking at 'Aishwarya Yatra', led by Chennithala, Sudhakaran had on Wednesday said Vijayan, who hails from a family of toddy-tappers, will be remembered 'as the first CM from the working class to use a helicopter.' On Friday, Chennithala said 'Sudhakaransaid he didn'tmake any abusive statementagainst the CM. When I enquired, it was true. I made a general statement in the matter (earlier) when the reporters asked me. He is a popular leader and an asset for the Congress party.' Meanwhile, Sudhakaran, who met the media in Delhi, stood by the statement, saying he only mentioned the occupation of Vijayan's family to point out his 'lavish lifestyle' now.

'The discussion for the last two days has been that I had made casteist remarks. The CPI(M) reacted to my Tuesday's speech on Thursday. They woke up from their sleep,' he said.

Venugopal said Sudhakaran made the statement 'in a colloquialmanner. He has clarified that he was not intending to make any casteist abuse.' However, maintaining that Sudhakaran made casteist remarks, state law minister A K Balan alleged the MP from Kannur, home district of the chief minister, always had 'hatred' towards Vijayan and Congress leaders were afraid of their colleague.

'The Congress leaders should show some spine to stop Sudhakran from making such casteist remarks,' Balan said.

Meanwhile, BJP state president K Surendran also said there was no need to consider the statement made by Sudhakaran as casteist.

'There is no need for such a controversy. The Left leaders have made even more derogatory statements earlier,' he alleged, while talking to reporters in Kozhikode. PTI RRT VS VS