Thiruvananthapuram: Cutting across political
lines, leaders in Kerala on Saturday reacted sharply to Home
Minister P Chidamabaram`s statement that the Assembly bypoll
due in Piravom segment was the real reason for rising tempers
over the Mullaperiyar issue.
Hitting out at Chidambaram, state Water Resources
Minister PJ Joseph demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
drop him from the cabinet as his speech in Chennai amounted to
"breach of oath" taken while joining the Union cabinet.
Terming the Kerala government`s apprehension over safety
of the Mullaperiyar dam as "unnecessary", Home Minister P
Chidambaram today claimed it was borne out of "bypoll fear".
"It is an unnecessary fear. It is not even a temporary or
a permanent fear. It is only a bypoll fear," Chidambaram said.
Joseph, who belongs to the Kerala Congress (M), a key
partner in the ruling Congress-led UDF, said Chidambaram had
lost his right to continue in the Union cabinet after making
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala termed Chidambaram`s
statement as "extremely unfortunate" as it came at a time when
the Prime Minister was taking initiative to solve the issue.
The impropriety of the statement would be brought to the
Prime Minister`s notice, Chennithala said in a statement.
CPI(M) leader and state opposition leader VS
Achuthanandan also wanted Chidambaram to be dropped from the
Congress MPs from Kerala MI Shanawas and PT Thomas,
senior party leader VM Sudheeran, CPI-M politburo member
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and former water resources minister and
RSP leader NK Premachandran also slammed Chidambaram`s
"For a moment at least, Chidambaram seems to have
forgotten that he is a Minister at the Centre and has spoken
like a local leader," Shanawas said.
Sudheeran demanded Chidambaram to withdraw his statement
and the Prime Minister to restrain him from making such
remarks, which, he said, were unbecoming of his position as a
senior Union Minister.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
and senior Congress leaders to spell out their stand on
"What he (Chidambaram) has said amounts to breach of
assurance given by the Prime Minister to the all-party
delegation from Kerala that he (Singh) would make efforts to
amicably settle the issue," Balakrishnan said.
BJP state president V Muraleedharan said Chidambaram`s
statement exposed the "political drama" being played by the
Congress over the issue.