Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan finally dropped his defiance and expressed regret for his remarks on the family of slain National Security Guard commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.
However, while trying to make amends, the Chief Minister ended up raking up yet another controversy in the assembly by badmouthing Opposition leader Oommen Chandy. He also said his party general secretary Prakash Karat had expressed regret over the remarks under the false propaganda unleashed by the Congress, BJP and a section of the "rightist media".
In the House, the Congress-led Opposition raised the issue through a notice for adjournment motion. The CM tried his best to set the record straight, saying: "I did not make the 'dog' reference. It came from the person who addressed me. And those who had made the reference will swallow it now."
Achuthanandan went on to say: "If my comments have hurt Major Unnikrishnan's family, I'm sorry and I regret it. But now the Opposition is trying to misinterpret it. So I thought of giving a clarification."
Achuthanandan said he was sad about the entire affair but added that people had been misled by references wrongly attributed to him by a section of the media. This led to a furore with the Opposition demanding an unconditional apology.
The Chief Minister, refusing to be cowed down, turned on Chandy, calling him "Oomban (sucker) Chandy". This prompted the Opposition to demand his resignation.
"It is a sad day for the Kerala assembly. He should apologize and quit immediately," said Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani.
What angered Achuthanandan was Chandy's loaded query on whether Karat was so naïve as to fall for the Congress-BJP propaganda and issue a regret note.
After being turned away from the Bangalore home of the slain commando by his grieving father, an angry Achuthanandan had said: “It it wasn’t for Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, not even a dog would have visited this place.”