Political equations changed; LDF firm on demand for judicial inquiry into solar scam

The State Assembly is set to resume its session on Monday amidst a new round of controversies related to the solar scam. Yet another door for confrontation is likely to be opened between the ruling and Opposition fronts over the State government’s “soft stance” on handing over the scam cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), given the explosive political nature that it has acquired following the leak of a set of telephone lists linking one of the scam accused to United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders and Ministers.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) deputy leader in the Assembly Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has already put on record the Opposition’s stand on a CBI probe. Mr. Balakrishnan made it clear on Sunday that the LDF would not agree to any move short of a judicial inquiry into the scam. Handing over the case to the CBI would end up in letting the accused off the hook. The procedural delays in handing over the case would help the accused to destroy evidence, he feared. (The Kerala High Court is expected to consider a petition seeking a CBI probe into the scam on Monday)

The State Assembly was abruptly adjourned on June 24 when the Opposition stalled the House proceedings demanding a judicial inquiry and the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on charges of the alleged links his staff members had with Saritha S. Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, the two main accused in the solar scam. The two-week adjournment, it was hoped, would enable the State government to wear out the Opposition agitation. However, matters did not go as expected for the government in view of further developments in the case, including the arrest of Tenny Joppan, former PA to the Chief Minister, and the leak of the list of telephone calls purported to have been made by Saritha Nair to mobile numbers of UDF leaders and Ministers.

On the eve of the resumption of the Assembly session, political equations appear to have changed. The relations between the Chief Minister and the Home Minister, once considered to be his trusted aide, are strained. The talks initiated by KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala has for the time being put the brakes on the fall in trust.

The Assembly session has been rescheduled to conclude on July 18, but it might get over earlier if the Opposition takes a strong position in the House in tandem with the agitations outside.

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