Achuthanandan's comment on royal head draws flak

Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan on Monday came under attack from political parties and Hindu outfits in Kerala for his remark that the present head of erstwhile Travancore royal family had tried to smuggle out precious articles from Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

"As Leader of the opposition, he should have avoided such a remark," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

Slamming the Marxist leader, Information Minister K C Joseph sought to know whether the CPI-M leadership also agreed with Achuthanandan's allegation that present royal head Uthradam Tirunal Marthanda Varma had taken away precious articles in vessels after worshipping at the shrine.

Law Minister and Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani said it was most inappropriate for Achuthanandan to have made such an insulting comment on the royal family without properly verifying the facts.

"There is no justification for hurling unfounded charges at the royal family members who have guarded the huge wealth for generations," Mani said.

"The remarks made by Achuthanandan based on mere hearsay is unbecoming of a senior politician holding the important position of the Leader of the Opposition in the state," Nair Service Society, general secretary G Sukumaran Nair said.

The state unit of BJP, Shiv Sena and Yoga Keshema Sabha also took strong objection to Achuthanandan's remarks.

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Employees Union wanted him to reveal the source of the information based on which he made the allegation.

Marthanda Varma has refused to react to the allegation, but said he would respond to it at an appropriate time.

The former Kerala chief minister had told reporters on Saturday that Marathanda Varma was playing a "double role" by portraying himself to be the protector of the temple wealth while he had attempted to take out the wealth and media should expose it.