Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday alleged that neither Congress president Sonia Gandhi nor any of the top leaders of that party have visited Zakia Jafri, widow of ex-Congress MP Eshan Jafri who was killed during the Gujarat riots, to announce their support for her legal battles seeking justice for her husband.
Strongly rejecting the allegations, the Congress charged Vijayan with telling “blatant lies” on the issue and claimed that Sonia Gandhi had visited Zakia immediately after the 2002 riots.
The CM made the claim at a press conference to slam the opposition for disrupting the Assembly proceedings which began here today over the attack on Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s office in Kalpetta last week.
Responding to a query on the arrest of former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar and social activist Teesta Setalvad by the Crime Branch wing of the Gujarat police for allegedly conspiring to falsely implicate innocent persons in the 2002 riot case, Vijayan alleged that when Sonia Gandhi visited Gujarat after the riots, Congress intellectuals had advised her not to meet Zakia in order not to lose the soft Hindu votes.
Vijayan further alleged that during the last Gujarat elections, Rahul Gandhi did not utter a single word about Ehsan Jafri or the Gulbarg Society massacre. He, however, had found time to conduct a “Temple Tour” across Gujarat, the CPI(M) politburo member alleged.
Vijayan also referred to the wordings in the statements issued by Congress and the CPI(M) soon after the arrest of Teesta and Sreekumar to prove a point that it was his party which strongly condemned the act of the Gujarat Crime Branch.
“Both responses are clear. Who is trying to side with the BJP; It is clear who is reacting strongly against it,” Vijayan claimed in his response which also came amid Congress accusation that SFI activists targeted Rahul Gandhi’s office Wayanad to satisfy the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Hitting back at Vijayan, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, V D Satheesan, countered the CPI(M) veteran’s allegations referring to a media report quoting Zakia’s son saying that Gandhi had met his mother when she visited Gujarat soon after the 2002 riots.
“The Chief Minister is telling blatant lies on the issue”, he alleged.
Satheesan also said Teesta was presented with the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award in 2002 and Padma Shri during the UPA rule in 2007.
“So, the Chief Minister doesn’t need to teach the Congress the lessons of secularism”, he said.