Front leaders resolve to stand by beleaguered Chief Minister

The United Democratic Front (UDF) government in the State plunged into a serious crisis late on Monday night following the statements made by one of the complainants in the solar scam on a television channel.

But UDF leaders who met at the official residence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy took a decisive stand to extend unconditional support to him and confront the Left Democratic Front (LDF) campaign for his resignation inside the Assembly, which is in session, and outside.

The ruling coalition dubbed the move a conspiracy hatched by the LDF, which was unable to confront it politically.

The complainant, Sreedharan Nair, who had made a statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, told the channel in its late evening programme that he had met the Chief Minister along with the solar-scam accused Saritha S. Nair, triggering off hectic political activity.

Mr. Chandy had said in the Assembly earlier in the day that he had met Mr. Nair on two occasions as a representative of the quarry owners’ association.

Explaining the UDF’s position to the media, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala dubbed the incident a conspiracy by the LDF, which did not have a political issue to take up. “We have decided to face the devious moves to weaken the UDF Ministry politically. The people of the State know the ruling coalition and the Chief Minister very well. It would be impossible to shatter the credibility of the Chief Minister and the government he leads by merely making the statements of a person who had been prevaricating on his stand,” he said.

The late-night meeting was attended by the Ministers P.K. Kunhalikutty, K.M. Mani, K.P. Mohanan, Shibu Baby John, Anoop Jacob, K. Babu and K.C. Joseph.

Senior UDF ministers rushed to the Chief Minister’s residence and were huddled in discussions.

Violence

The LDF and the BJP’s feeder organisations went on agitation. At least three persons were injured when the police clashed with DYFI workers who tried to barge into the Secretariat. The police baton-charged the activists.

UDF leaders said that the operative part of Monday’s late-night decision was there was no need for the Chief Minister to resign in the absence of an adverse court reference. True to his style, Mr. Chandy promptly informed the Congress high command his willingness to step down on the basis of the current situation. Leaders belonging to his faction met in the meantime to avert the possibilities of his resignation.

A special Cabinet meeting has been convened for Tuesday to discuss the fallout of Mr. Nair’s statement.

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