A two-decade-old sex scandal in Kerala, dubbed the "ice cream parlour" case in which the image of a well-known opposition politician took a beating, is now adding to the poll heat in the state.
Chief minister V S Achuthanandan is making the case the main plank for his Left Democratic
Front's (LDF) electoral battle against the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Wednesday's assembly polls.
The scandal broke out in the 1990s, when Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader and former state minister P K Kunhalikutty was named in a sex racket being run under the garb of an ice cream shop.
The media coined the term "ice cream parlour sex case" and Kunhalikutty's image was tarnished. The IUML is a part of the Congress-led UDF.
In 2006, a court closed the case.
In the run-up to the state elections, which the UDF believes it will win with ease, the issue picked up heat as Kunhalikutty's co-brother K A Rauf called a press conference and made startling allegations against the five-time legislator.
In a flash, Achuthanandan ordered a re-investigation into the case and asked Additional Director General of Police Vinson M Paul to begin a probe.
The Congress dubbed the move as "cheap politics".
"Is there anything new in this issue? This is being used for cheap political gains. Today, it has reached a stage where Achuthanandan as chief minister is misusing his powers. On the eve of the polls, the real issue of development is not being discussed because his government has nothing to show. It is instead banking on old written off cases to dramatise the election campaign," said Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Oommen Chandy.
Achuthanandan retorted: "Corruption and sex cases are part and parcel of the social fabric of the state. What is wrong if these issues are discussed?
"Corruption, equality in gender and atrocities against women are certainly election issues. It is a pity that Congress leaders like (A K) Antony, Chandy and (Vayalar) Ravi have to dance to the tunes of people like Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi who have not been part of any political struggle but hold big posts," he said.
But Kunhalikutty, 59, is unperturbed and confident of a victory. The former minister lost for the first time in 2006 from his pocketborough of Kuttipuram in Malappuram district.
"I know my electorate well and also what the outcome would be," he said.
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