KPCC chief puts up strong defence for Chandy

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala on Friday put up a strong defence in favour of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and categorically ruled out a change in leadership.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Chennithala said the Congress and the United Democratic Front (UDF) were solidly behind the Chief Minister. No case has so far been made out against the Chief Minister in the solar scam, either in terms of any loss to the State exchequer or in terms of doling out of turn benefits to the controversial company, Team Solar. Replying to a question, he said neither the Congress nor the UDF had ever discussed the question of ordering a judicial probe into the solar scam.

Alleging that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was making attempts to get rid of the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan simultaneously, he said the main issue before the Congress party was not leadership change or Cabinet reshuffle, but rather the conspiracy hatched by the Left Democratic Front, which had announced a long-drawn agitation. The party also wanted to put up a good show in the coming Lok Sabha elections. His main responsibility was to help the party tide over the present situation and prepare it for the general elections.

He said the Left Democratic Front did not have any moral right to demand the Chief Minister’s resignation as its stand justifying the “shameful action” of Jose Thettayil, MLA, who had been named in a sexual harassment case, was dubious. No UDF legislator has had to go into hiding, he added.

The Chief Minister had initiated action against three of his staff members when they were in the dock over the solar scam. Similarly, all the accused in the case were either in judicial or police custody. He blamed the Opposition for its attempts to disrupt Assembly proceedings in the same manner that the Bharatiya Janata Party had done in Parliament.

He said he could not fully comprehend the leak of the call details of UDF and Congress leaders linking them to one of the accused in the solar case. The Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) is now probing the case. He too had conducted a probe into the issue internally and given his recommendations to the Chief Minister. However, the events around the solar scam were a good lesson for public persons. He also did not subscribe to the view that the Cabinet had lost its sense of collective responsibility.

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