Leadership meet to discuss fallout of call list leak

Leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) are meeting here on Tuesday to discuss the fallout of the leak of telephone lists linking coalition leaders and Ministers to solar scam accused Saritha S. Nair.

The meeting will also discuss the stand to be adopted in the sexual abuse case against Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Minister Jose Thettayil, MLA.

Sources in the UDF attribute a lot of significance to Tuesday’s meeting because it will give sufficient time for the ruling coalition to shape its strategies. The ruling bench will require at least two days for pushing through the Appropriation and Finance Bills passed along with the supplementary demands for grants in the Assembly, which resumes its session on Monday. The coalition expects the Opposition to launch a stir inside the Assembly on Monday in order to raise the profile of the agitation, which is sure to attract national attention.

The petition for a CBI probe into the solar scam case and another petition against Jose Thettayil are expected to come up on Monday. The UDF leaders believe that they will be better placed to chart out their strategies once the court verdicts are available. There have been internal discussions on the stand that the State government should adopt on the plea for a CBI probe into the solar scam.

As far as the Thettayil issue is concerned, the UDF has taken a lukewarm stand on it. Only the Congress party has responded, with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala making a passing demand for the former Minister’s resignation.

The UDF leaders feel that the coalition should take a position on the Thettayil issue questioning the double standards adopted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], which has supported the MLA’s continuance in office contrary to its professed stand on such issues. This section of the UDF leaders feels that the differences of opinion between Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and the CPI(M) State leadership should be capitalised politically.

The fallout of the telephone list leak has been disruptive for the UDF because it has brought up issues related to trust and faith. The strain in the relations of the Chief Minister and Home Minister is perhaps the first hit at the concept of collective responsibility of the Cabinet. With several UDF leaders also being listed out in the leaked document, the onus is on the coalition leadership to prevent further fallout.