Uproar in Kerala assembly over ex-minister's domestic violence

Thiruvananthapuram, April 2 (IANS) The Kerala assembly Tuesday witnessed angry scenes over the way Chief Minister Oommen Chandy handled the complaint of the wife of his former cabinet colleague K.B. Ganesh Kumar.

State Forests Minister Ganesh Kumar, 46, submitted his resignation to Chandy late Monday night after his estranged wife, Yamini Thankachi, accused him of assaulting her and lodged a complaint with police last month.

CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan sought leave for an adjournment motion over the manner in which Chandy misled the house last month after he did not accept Thankachi's complaint.

"Ganesh Kumar is an actor by profession but Chandy has given a brilliant performance. We recommend his name for an Oscar Award. He misled the house by saying that the minister's wife did not have a complaint and hence he could not accept it (resignation)," Balakrishnan said.

He added: "She had said that the chief minister cheated her and that she was going public because of external pressures. Who are these external forces? The only way out for Chandy is to quit."

Chandy replied: "She came to me yesterday and I asked her if I had cheated her. She said that when she met me the first time, she said that she had left her written complaint in her car. She met me on March 6, but the letter she gave me was dated March 7."

"I did my best to help them settle their differences," Chandy said about Ganesh Kumar and Thankachi.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that it was unfortunate that the chief minister was defending his former cabinet colleague while the victim of the brutal assault is in tears.

"The accused is still seated in the minister's chair and the victim is being tarnished. And you claim to have done justice? Chandy is protecting a man who beat his wife. Chandy should resign," Achuthanandan said and walked out of the assembly.

Speaker G. Karthikeyan said Ganesh Kumar was still holding his office as the governor is yet to accept his resignation.

Later, Ganesh Kumar said in the assembly that he had done no wrong.

"I quit because I want an impartial probe into what has happened. I request the speaker to give me an alternate seat," Ganesh Kumar said.

Outside the assembly, the youth wing of the CPI-M took out a protest march demanding Chandy's resignation. The protest led to a clash with police after the protestors turned violent.