Thiruvananthapuram: Troubles mounted for beleaguered Forest Minister KB Ganesh Kumar with his wife alleging on Monday she had been a victim of "domestic violence" hours after he filed a divorce petition, putting the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala in a spot.
As questions were raised on his continuance in the Cabinet, 46-year-old Kumar, an actor-turned politician, put up a brave face and scotched speculation he will quit in the wake of fresh embarrassment for the UDF in which his party KC(B) is a minor partner. The UDF government is surviving on a wafer-thin majority of just three members.
On a day of high drama, Kumar, who claimed he was a victim of "blackmailing", and his wife Yamini Thankachi traded charges after the former filed a divorce petition in a family court here. Kumar alleged in the petition he was even beaten up by his wife in front of his personal staff.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was also caught in the controversy with Yamini, who broke down while airing her grievances at a press conference, claiming she did not receive justice from him since he had promised to settle the domestic dispute. Adding to his woes, Kumar's father and Kerala Congress(KC-B) supremo R Balakrishna Pillai renewed the party's demand to the Chief Minister that he should be removed from the Cabinet for not obeying the diktat of the party.
The UDF leadership had recently brokered a truce among the Minister, his estranged father and Yamini. Kumar expressed confidence of proving his innocence through a probe. The couple have two children. "I am a victim of blackmailing which was inspired by external influence. I want the whole matter to be probed by a high ranking official, man or woman," Kumar told reporters as the long-running family dispute took another ugly turn.
Kumar claimed Chandy was convinced of his innocence in the matter. Hitting back after the divorce petition was filed, Yamini said it was she who had been the victim of domestic violence for the last 16 years for questioning "illicit affairs" of her husband. Kumar was caught in a controversy a month ago after a newspaper published a report that a state Minister was beaten up by the husband of a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair.
Seizing on the report, Government Chief Whip PC George alleged Kumar was the Minister mentioned in the report.