3 Feb 2009
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala chief minister V S Achhuthanandan on Monday ruled out participating in the `Nava Kerala Yatra' by state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who is facing corruption charges in the multi-crore SNC-Lavlin deal.
"No, No,'' the CM told reporters at the government guesthouse at Aluva in Ernakulam district when asked if he was taking part in the yatra which kicked off at Kasargode on Monday evening.
The CM's stand came as a jolt to CPM which was hoping he would be ready to join the yatra after party general secretary Prakash Karat had called the case a "politically-motivated'' one.
Last week, Achuthanandan had hinted at his absence from the yatra but it was only on Monday that he clearly said so. Interestingly, he had met senior party leader Sitaram Yechury at the guesthouse on Sunday night. They are believed to have discussed many issues, including the deal and the yatra.
The yatra began in Kasargode on Monday evening with politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai flagging it off.
HC notice to Pinarayi
The Kerala high court issued notices to CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and two others on a petition seeking a direction that no sanction was necessary under the law to prosecute him. The petition said Pinarayi, a former electricity minister, wasn't holding any public office when he was sought to be chargesheeted.