Saji Cheriyan, the Minister for Culture, Fisheries and Film in Kerala’s cabinet, resigned on Wednesday night after voicing an outcry over comments on India’s constitution the day before. Minister Saji said in announcing his resignation that he was resigning voluntarily. and had communicated its decision to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
“I will be fully committed to my party’s work to uphold the values of the Indian Constitution,”Saji Cheriyan
“There were messages that I insulted the Constitution at a party event in Mallappally in Pathanamthitta. I am a citizen who respects the constitution.The political party to which I belong fights hard to protect the country’s constitution, secular and federal character. We have all tried to save the federal and secular values of the constitution and I think it should be strengthened for that,” Minister Saji said of the events that also took place over the past two days.
Stressing that his speech was misconstrued to attack the CPI(M), he said: “I never intended to offend the Constitution. I understand that Chief Minister sought the Advocate General’s opinion.
Saji also accused the media of not covering his entire speech at the event. “Secularism is now under serious threat and recent developments in the Gujarat riot processes are an example of this. I had talked about all of this in my speech, but my speech was not televised in full. That’s my complaint about you (the media). As a person who has remained loyal to the people and the country’s constitution, I was saddened by the propaganda against me,” he added.
In comments that sparked the outrage, addressing an event in Pathanamthitta on July 5, Saji had said the Constitution “condoned exploitation [of workers]” and was written in a way to help “plunder the people.”