Defiant Kurien says won’t quit

Amidst clamour for his resignation over his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli sex scandal case, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.K. Kurien ruled out resignation and pleaded his “innocence” in a letter drafted to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Even as the Left parties stepped up pressure for his stepping down, the Congress core group on Friday discussed the matter in the wake of fresh revelations against Mr Kurien.

Even though, speaking off the record, Congress leaders had said that the party would take a decision on him before the Budget Session, sources said the core group was left undecided on Friday. Even though leaders remained cautious on guarding Mr Kurien, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said Mr Kurien was given a “clean chit” by the judiciary and asserted that the party cannot “jump the (judicial) process” in the wake of fresh revelations.
A day after the victim’s mother wrote to Mrs Gandhi requesting her to drop Mr Kurien from his office for a fair inquiry, Mr Kurien drafted a letter to Mrs Gandhi and reiterated that the allegations against him were “politically motivated”. Mr Kurien has been camping in Delhi since Thursday. Meanwhile, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat met vice-president Hamid Ansari, also the RS chairman, and urged him to take steps to ensure Mr Kurien’s resignation. She said: “The status of India’s Parliament will be irreparably damaged in the eyes of the world if the discussion (on the anti-sexual assault ordinance), is permitted to be guided by a person who has been accused of involvement in a case of rape of a 17-year-old.”
Interestingly, the BJP central leadership, in contradiction to its Kerala unit, still appeared hesitant to strongly take up the matter. When asked why the BJP central leadership has been silent, party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had nothing much to say except citing the protests organised by the Kerala unit. To a question whether the BJP would raise the issue in Parliament, he said only the BJP’s parliamentary party can take a decision on this. One party leader in Delhi off the record told mediapersons that he found the controversy on Mr Kurien “politically motivated”.

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