Thiruvananthapuram: The resignation of Kerala's State Forest and Sports Minister KB Ganesh Kumar following allegations of domestic violence had its echo in the Kerala Assembly on Tuesday with opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) demanding that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy step down on moral grounds.
As soon as the Assembly began its proceedings, the LDF members were on their feet alleging Chandy had lost the moral right to remain in office as he "misled" the House over the complaint by Yamini Thankachi against her husband.
Though Speaker G Karthikeyan sought to pacify the agitated members saying the issue could be discussed during zero hour, they persisted with their demand forcing the House to be adjourned temporarily within few minutes after question hour.
LDF later staged a walkout to express their dissatisfaction with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's explanation.
The Chief Minister had on the floor of the house denied reports that Ganesh Kumar's estranged wife had handed a complaint to him about a month ago demanding action against her husband under the Domestic Violence Act.
"She came and talked to me about some grievances. But she did not hand over any complaint," Chandy was quoted as saying by the Malayalam daily Madhyamam on their website.
He also denied reports that Ganesh Kumar had been bashed up by the husband of a woman with whom the film-star-turned politician was allegedly having an affair.
Ganesh Kumar had handed over his resignation to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy late Monday night after his estranged wife accused him of ill-treatment.
What twitter is saying:The 46-year-old filmstar-turned-politician was accompanied by his friend and State Labour Minister Shibu Baby John and other friends from the film industry including ace director Shaji Kailas and producer Suresh Kumar when he went to hand over his resignation at the chief minister's official residence late on Monday night.
Though he refused to resign earlierin the evening on the same day, Ganesh Kumar was forced to change his mind after Thankachi, a doctor, complained about his ill treatment of her in writing to Chandy.
Chandy accepted the letter and asked her to approach the nearest police station.
The chief minister then called the director general of police, KS Balasubramaniam, and his senior cabinet colleagues and held closed-door discussions.
Speaking to reporters Chandy said that Kumar's wife had come with a written complaint against the minister.
"I called the DGP and handed over the complaint. In the morning Kumar had also registered a complaint at the police station. And now in the light of this he has decided to resign," he said.
Kumar, in the presence of Chandy, said he was stepping down. "For an impartial inquiry into the allegations that have been levelled, it's improper for me to continue as a minister and hence I have stepped down," he declared.
Earlier in the day, Thankachi accused Chandy of "cheating" her by not accepting her complaint of domestic violence by her husband who was now moving to divorce her.The family dispute surfaced in the open again with Ganesh Kumar alleging in his divorce petition, filed on Monday morning, that he was even beaten up by his wife in front of his personal staff.
Within hours, Yamini hit back saying that it was she who had been the victim of domestic violence for the last 16 years for questioning "illicit affairs" of her husband.
Yamini, who broke down while airing her grievances, told reporters that she did not receive justice from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who promised to settle the dispute.
"What wrong I have done? Why should they defame me. Now things have reached such a stage that the victim has been turned into an accused," Yamini, mother of two children, said.
Claiming that she had even approached Chandy with a petition narrating her sufferings and that the CM had promised that the matter could be settled through mediation, Yamini alleged "she has been cheated by persons, whom she trusted including the Chief Minister."
Ganesh Kumar was caught in a controversy a month ago after a newspaper published a report that a state Minister was beaten up by the husband of a woman with whom he had an affair. Seizing on the report, Government Chief Whip P C George had said Kumar was the Minister mentioned in the report.
The parleys by mediators, including Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, in recent weeks to settle the dispute between the couple have apparently failed, with Kumar stating in his petition that he could no longer live with his wife.
Kumar filed his petition before the family court in Thiruvanthapuram. The court will hear the plea on April 30 and send a notice to Yamini after taking the statement of the Minister.
The minister, in his petition, said that his wife did not stand by him during his trials and tribulations. She had even manhandled him and was blackmailing him after joining hands with his political rivals.
He accused his estranged wife of demanding Rs 75 lakh, which she wanted deposited in her name.
Meanwhile, the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) accused Chandy of misleading the assembly and demanded his resignation.
"If a minister's wife is not able to get her issues sorted out in a domestic violence case and Chandy totally hid this from the assembly when he made a statement last month. He has no other go but to quit," former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters.
Leader of Opposition VSAchuthanandan also jumped into the fray and demanded Chandy's resignation for misleading the house on the issue of domestic violence in the case of the minister and his wife.