(Eds: Adds inputs) Kochi/Kanjirappally, Mar 24 (PTI) Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Wednesday targeted Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the gold smuggling case, alleging that the CPI(M) leader had links with prime accused in the scam.
Addressing a poll rally in Kanjirappally Assembly constituency in Kottayam district, Shah asked Vijayan whether the prime accused of the gold scam worked in his office or not.
'I call upon Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Ji to answer this straight question - Did the prime accused of the gold scam work in your office or not? 'Did your govt given this accused monthly remuneration of Rs 3 lakh?' Shah asked as he kick started the second leg of election campaign in the southern state.
He sought to know whether Vijayan's then principal secretary had made phone calls to help these accused or not.
Without naming prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and M Sivasankar, who were arrested by central agencies in connection with case, Shah asked, 'Did this accused woman make foreign trips on state funds and the Principal Secretary's permission?' 'Why did this accused woman come to the CM's residence regularly? Did this accused woman make foreign trips on state funds and the Principal Secretary's permission?' the BJP leader asked.
Attacking the Left government, Shah alleged that it has converted the entire administration into their cadre.
'The left parties run Public Service Commission via remote controls to provide govt posts to their cadre', he said in an apparent reference to the protests organised by job aspirant youths in front of the secretariat recently against the government' alleged nepotism.
'Due to this, even after getting high ranks in PSC, a student committed suicide because of no jobs! Why? Only because he wasn't from your cadre?' he asked.
Noting that there have been two floods in Kerala, and over 500 people lost their lives, Shah alleged that the Left govt calls our army very late, only for their own political mileage.
'They do not care about the lives of the people of Kerala,' he claimed.
In his address, the Union Home Minister also highlighted the development works carried out by the BJP-led central government in the state to seek votes for the party candidates.
Referring to the recently inaugurated 2,000 MW HVDC initiative for Kerala, Shah said, 'All components being used in this project are indigenous - there cannot be a better example of self-reliant India.' Another solar scheme of 50 MW capacity in Kasargod has been developed by the central government, he said.
Under the AMRUT Yojana, cities are being upgraded at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore.
Prime Minister Modi has also provided Rs 65,000 crore for the development of highways in Kerala.
For Kochi Metro's development, Rs 1,957 crore has been allotted by the Centre, he noted.
'It is time to bring a change in Kerala. Senior bureaucrats such as E Sreedharan are also joining the BJP because they know only the BJP can help develop Kerala further under the leadership of PM Modi. LDF-UDF cannot', he said.
Earlier, he held a roadshow in Tripunithura town near Kochi as part of his election campaign for the NDA candidates contesting April 6 polls to the state assembly.
Speaking to reporters during the roadshow, Shah hit out at Vijayan, asking him to explain whether his former principal secretary was involved in the gold smuggling scam.
Justifying the investigation by central agencies in the scam, he said if any scandal took place in the country, it will be probed by the Indian agencies and not those from the UN.
Shah said the people of the state see BJP as an alternative for the opposition UDF and ruling LDF.
Senior BJP leader K S Radhakrishnan is the party's candidate in Tripunithura, considered as an 'A' class constituency by its leadership.
The roadshow started at East fort of the town, capital of erstwhile Kochi kingdom, culminated near the Poornathrayeesa temple.
Hundreds of sloganeering BJP workers and supporters holding party flags accompanied the open vehicle carrying Shah.
People in large numbers gathered on either side of the road cheered as the senior BJP leader greeted them from atop a decorated mini truck.
Elated by the response received from the public to the roadshow, Shah said many people have gathered in this small town to participate in the programme, which shows that the people of the state will lend their support to the saffron party to remove the alternating corrupt governments of the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF.
Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP K J Alphonse is the party candidate in Kanjirappally constituency. PTI TGB ROH ROH