Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is likely to give a personal explanation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other Central leaders on the controversies linking him and his office to the solar panel scam during his visit to the national capital.
Mr. Chandy, already in New Delhi by Friday evening, will hold discussions with Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel (political secretary to the Congress president) and other leaders. He is expected to meet Mrs. Gandhi on Saturday evening, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s Office.
The Chief Minister’s Delhi visit comes against the backdrop of the Opposition Left Democratic Front’s rather violent agitation, which included a hartal, demanding his resignation on the ground of his alleged culpability in the solar scam. More and more complainants are going public about their experience with the fraudsters, who used the Chief Minister’s Office to dupe several people.
The Chief Minister has left the State capital armed with all materials required to justify his stand on the solar scam, especially the unconditional support extended to him by the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kerala Congress(M), two main partners of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF).
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala’s strong defence of Mr. Chandy, that too on the eve of his departure to Delhi, has come as a shot in the arm for the Chief Minister. Mr. Chandy will highlight the fact that there is no case against him at present that warrants his resignation. He is also expected to submit proof of the Opposition conspiracy to destabilise the UDF government.
Mr. Chandy’s Delhi yatra will be significant this time as a clear picture is expected to emerge on the issue of Cabinet reshuffle, including its timing, now that the party leadership has scoffed at the speculation of a possible leadership change in Kerala. The proposal to induct Mr. Chennithala into the State Cabinet had to be deferred on the eve of the State Assembly session when the process got delayed by factional differences over accommodating him. The high command might give some indication about its line of thinking. But Congress leaders here firmly believe that the move for Cabinet reshuffle might not be initiated too soon because the Chief Minister would prefer to be on a firmer wicket after overcoming the Opposition onslaught.