The Congress in Kerala, on Wednesday faced major embarrassment when AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi appeared in the high court for promoters of other state lotteries at a time when the party is engaged in a bitter battle against the LDF government over the lottery issue.
While the LDF seized it as a weapon to strike back at the Congress, embittered Youth Congress workers staged a protest against Singhvi here, saying his appearance in the case amounted to an ‘insult’ to the party in the state.
The workers who came to know that Singhvi had appeared on behalf of Megha distributors, staged a demonstration outside the court. Singhvi had to be escorted out by police through a different gate meant for judges.
Defending himself, Singhvi said he had appeared not as Congress spokesperson, but as an advocate and was representing the Bhutan government. He addressed the court for nearly one and half hours on behalf of the three petitioners.
Singhvi said he was challenging the constitutional validity of an ordinance promulgated by the Kerala government against central rules and said this was not a ‘political issue’.
“The government does not have legislative competence to enact such a legislation,” he said.
Justice C.K. Abdul Rahim, after hearing Singhvi and the state government, adjourned the case for Thursday.
Congress and its UDF allies had been alleging that the LDF government was helping promoters of other state lotteries who were siphoning off huge amounts from the state.
With the lottery issue emerging as a big row, the LDF government had stopped accepting tax advance from promoters of Bhutan and Sikkim lotteries, citing violation of rules, resulting in stoppage of sales of other state lottery tickets.