The strategy of the CPM-led LDF to block Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from attending public programmes, as part of its agitation on the Solar scam issue, backfired on it on Sunday, after Chandy sustained minor injuries in a stone pelting at a function in Kannur, resulting in public sentiment poised again to tilt in favour of Chandy and against the LDF. Though the CPM and the CPI leadership were quick to distance themselves from the attack on Chandy with CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI state secretary Pannian Raveendran saying that the LDF was not behind the attack, Congress and UDF leaders came out in unison by accusing the Left for the attack. The incident will also be a turning point at a juncture when the Left is gearing up for the second phase of the protest to oust Chandy by laying siege to the Cliff House, the official residence of the Chief Minister, indefinitely from December 9 onwards.
The UDF leadership on the other hand was quick to squarely blame the Left for the attack and garner as much public support as it could manage. Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan accused the CPM of attacking Chandy and said that it was the leaders of the CPM who were in the forefront of the agitation to block Chandy.
“The attack was a planned one against the CM by the Marxist party with the knowledge of its state leadership. The attack took place when four leaders of the party were present at the spot and it is part of a conspiracy hatched by the CPM,’’ he alleged. KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala pointed the finger at the CPM, accusing it of conspiring to carry out the attack on Chandy. “CPM had warned Chandy that he should not attend the meet. So, it is obvious that CPM is behind the attack. Congress will no longer tolerate such attacks from the Left. We will organise protest in all districts against the attack on Monday,’’ he said.
Electricity Minister Arayadan Mohammed said that the Left was getting jealous of the public support the Chief Minister was getting and the attack on Chandy would result in the public rallying behind him more. “This is rowdyism by the CPM. If they think by such acts they can prevent Chandy from reaching out to the people, then they are wrong. This is going to be the beginning of their end,’’ he said. Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal said this is a deplorable incident and the CPM will have to pay a heavy price for this act.
“Waving black flags at the CM is understandable, but stoning a Chief Minister is an act of ‘attempt to murder’ him. This has never happened in our state before and this should never be allowed,’’ Venugopal said. Various UDF leaders, including IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty, KC(M) chairman K M Mani, P C George and KC(J) leader Anoop Jacob, have condemned the attack and rallied behind the CM.
Soon after the attack, Congress and UDF activists took to the streets in various parts of the state shouting slogans against the Left and its leaders. The Youth Congress will observe a ‘black day’ on Monday.
The Kerala Students Union has announced an education strike across the state. KSU state president V S Joy said that the union will conduct protest marches on all college campuses and schools.