Breather for Oommen Chandy in Solar Scam
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Beleagured Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, under attack from CPI-M led LDF opposition ever since the solar scam broke out in June, has got a breather after the Front called off its two day secretariat siege yesterday.

The manner in which the government handled the agitation, which passed off peacefully has also caught the eye of political observers, who feel it is a partial victory for Chandy as one of the opposition's main demands for his resignation over the issue has been turned down.

However, CPI-M leaders have made it clear their stir for his resignation would continue and have demanded that the Chief Minister's Office also be brought under the purview of the proposed judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge.

Chandy had already indicated that his office would not come under the probe ambit. "The opposition has pointed out numerous allegations, but they have not been able to bring in any evidence to support the charges. Hence the Chief minister will not come under scrutiny', Chandy had said.

Poltical observers feel Chandy has consolidated his position in Congress and among UDF partners by warding off a major challenge.

Though Congress in the state saw emergence of factionalism after a futile attempt for a cabinet re-shuffle by inducting KPCC Chief Rmaesh Chennithala, the party closed ranks and gave full support to the government steps to deal with the stir.

Both Chandy and Chennithala are scheduled to meet the high command next week to apprise them of the latest political situation in the state. The strategy for improving the image of the UDF ministry is also likely to be discussed with the party leaders, party sources said.

For LDF, the government's decision to hold a judicial probe is seen as something half won as one of their main demands was finally accepted after a two month long struggle.

LDF managed to activate its cadres state wide and prepare them for the coming Lok Sabha polls. For CPI-M in particular, the agitation has enabled it to come out of the 'dark cloud' of the murder of RMP leader T P Chandrasekheran and its aftermath.

Chandrasekharan, a former CPI-M leader from the party stronghold of Onchiyam in Kozhikode district, was murdered at Vallikkad in 2012. He was expelled a few years ago after falling out with the CPI-M leadership. He later floated RMP and many accused in the case included CPI-M leaders.

The solar scam is connected to cheating of many people by accused Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair, both under arrest, by offering clients solar energy solutions. They allegedly flaunted their clout with the CM's office to dupe unsuspecting clients of huge sums.

It took a political turn after the arrest of a personal assistant of Chandy for his alleged links with the accused. A gunman of the Chief Minister was also suspended for his alleged association with the fraudsters.

Meanwhile, LDF today said it would pursue its stir more vigorously for ouster of Chandy.

"Calling off the secretariat blockade was only the end of the first phase of the agitation and there is no backing out from the demand for Chandy's resignation," CPI-M State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here today.

LDF would decide on the next phase of the stir after a meeting of the front, he said, adding Chandy can not continue in office for long.

He said the blockade was called off due to government's unilateral decision to hold a judicial probe and also to consult LDF on he terms and reference of the probe.

"Many people who were not part of LDF and supported the agitation would have turned against us if we had not accepted the government decision and call the stir," Vijayan said, adding the stir had caused inconvience to people in the city.

Vijayan also rejected the view that LDF had called off the blockade after arriving at an understanding with the government.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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