With LDF opposition threatening to lay an indefinite siege of the secretariat from Monday demanding resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the solar panel scam, Central forces on Saturday arrived in Kerala to assist the police.
Out of 20 companies of forces sought by the state, the first batch of ITBP personnel reached Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday morning and one company of BSF in politically volatile Kannur district as the CPI(M) and its LDF allies started galvanising about one lakh volunteers to be dispatched for the protest.
According to official sources, more contingents of central forces would reach the state in the next two days to maintain law and order during the siege, especially since it has been planned during the run-up to the Independence Day.
The Central Stadium adjacent to the secretariat complex is the main venue of Independence Day celebrations, to be attended by Governor, Chief Minister and other dignitaries.
Unfazed by the preparations to tackle the protest sternly, the LDF has begun to mobilise volunteers from across the state to be sent to the state capital.
“Without fail, the volunteers will reach the state capital at the right time as planned whatever be the preparations made by the government to deal with the protest,” the CPI(M) Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan told reporters.
Seeking to pre-empt the risk posed by such a large gathering of protesters in the city, police have instructed hoteliers and lodgers here not to accommodate the volunteers pouring in from all the 14 districts in the state.
Educational institutions in the capital will remain closed for two days from Monday in view of traffic disruptions and other inconvenience to be caused by the protest.
As the lead partner of the LDF, CPI(M) alone would be mobilising about 75,000 volunteers through its nearly 25,000 branch committees in the state and the CPI another 25,000 through its grass-root units.
National leaders of the Left and allied parties, including former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda, CPI(M)’s Prakash Karat and CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy would be addressing the protesters on the initial day.
Solar scam, rocking the state for some two months, has brought Mr. Chandy under a cloud, especially after the arrest of a Personal Assistant in his office for his alleged links with the accused. Another Personal Staff member and gunman have been removed from the CMO after they came under shadow of suspicion.
The scam pertains to financial cheating of several people by the accused Biju Radkahrishnan and Saritha Nair, both under arrest, by offering clients solar energy solutions.
The accused allegedly flaunted their clout with the CM’s office for duping the unsuspecting clients of huge sums.
Ever since it surfaced, LDF has been pressing Mr. Chandy’s resignation and a judicial probe into the scam, a demand rejected by him.