Vijayan to decide on minister Saseendran's fate


Thiruvananthapuram, July 21 : With the new session of the Kerala Assembly all set to begin on Thursday, the fate of state Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran, who courted controversy after a phone conversation between him and a party member surfaced, is at stake. In the conversation, Saseendran asks his party member to settle amicably a case, which involves the party member's daughter who was harassed by another party leader in Kollam some time ago. The Congress-led Opposition on Wednesday said that they will vigorously take up this issue both inside and outside the Assembly, and it is in this context that Vijayan will take the final call as Saseendran met him on Wednesday morning. "The Assembly session is beginning tomorrow and we discussed various issues in my department. Along with this, I also briefed him about this present issue and I told him what happened and he gave me a patient hearing," said Saseendran. Replying to a question about his resignation, he denied any such thing. When further probed whether Vijayan was convinced of his explanation, Saseendran said, "that you have to ask him". Saseendran belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and following the revelation, the Congress and the BJP have demanded his resignation and face the probe. Meanwhile, the father of the woman on Wednesday told the media that he will under no circumstances go for a settlement. "I have heard that my party (NCP) has constituted a two-member party commission to probe the issue and meet up with all the parties. As a responsible member, I will cooperate with the party probe, but we will not go for a settlement in the case," said the victim's father. Meanwhile, NCP state president P.C.Chacko, a former top Congress leader, told the media in Delhi on Wednesday that he has had a talk with Saseendran where he said that he was only trying to find out if there were any party issues in Kollam. "Saseendran has done no wrong, and apart from being a Minister, he is also a senior leader and he will intervene in party issues. He has done nothing to hush up any case. We have appointed a two-member party delegation who will reach Kollam and meet up with all leaders there," said Chacko. The top brass of the CPI-M is meeting at the state party headquarters later in the day and with Saseendran already meeting Vijayan, it remains to be seen if the CPI-M will back the Minister. Saseendran in March 2017, in the first Pinarayi Vijayan government had to quit following sleaze talk with a woman. However, he later returned after a court cleared him after the woman backed out. /IANS


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