On Saturday, VT Balram, the Congress MLA from Kerala was in a swirl of controversy as his remarks made on veteran leader late A K Gopalan surfaced on the internet. Gopalan was a freedom fighter and was the Opposition leader in the first Lok Sabha. The two-time MLA from Thrithala in Palakkad district, Balram, made staunch remarks in a Facebook post on Friday. He said that Gopalan had “affection towards a minor girl”, who he later married “even when his first wife was alive”.
Following Balram’s comments on Gopalan, the leading partner in the Kerala, CPI(M), made a strong comment on the issue. CPI(M) said that Congress decided to expel senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for his remarks on PM Narendra Modi. Following that, the party asked Rahul Gandhi and A K Antony to make a comment on the issue and make their stand “clear” on Balram’s comments.
Congress leadership has stayed away from the issue and did not react, however, there were several state leaders who have criticised Balram for his staunch remarks.
Balram’s Facebook post was referring to a newspaper report on Gopalan that was published in 2001. Balram wrote: “Gopalan, a middle-aged revolutionary had married Susheela after a decade-long love affair. As per historical documents, Susheela was 22 at the time of marriage. In that case, one can assume her age at the beginning of their decade-long love affair. The news report says that Gopalan had first met Susheela and developed a relationship with her when he had been hiding at her house in 1940.”
He also wrote, “That means, Susheela, who was born in 1929, was aged 10 or 11 in early 1940.”
After his Facebook post went viral, Balram’s comments invited him a flurry of protest on social media. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Rahul Gandhi should make a comment on the his isse. Balakrishnan demanded his stand on Balram’s “humiliating remarks after his death” on Gopalan. “Gopalan had dedicated his life for the oppressed class and had made the immense contribution towards the freedom struggle,” said Balakrishnan.
Comments from Congress leader K Muraleedharan also came in. He said, “Balram’s remarks do not go with the culture of the Congress. His comments against AKG were unfortunate.”