THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a way, the Opposition UDF has succeeded in forcing the government to table the Solar Commission report by convening a one-day special Assembly session on November 9, after the aggrieved lot in Congress, including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, remaining adamant and confident that otherwise relief would be sought from the court on the demand for a copy of the report.
By cashing in on the government’s confusion and lack of confidence to come out with an order for Vigilance probe into the scam and into the sexual harassment and rape charges against Chandy and others even after nine days since Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s announcement, and penting up criticism the Solar Commission exceeded its brief on terms of reference laid, the report’s political sting has fizzled out, for now.
That the cabinet decided on Wednesday to approach eminent jurist Arijith Pasayath for further legal opinion on the Solar report with reference to the terms of reference and whether Justice (Rtd) M Sivarajan went beyond it also nails the Opposition charge the moves based on the legal opinion flaunted by Pinarayi,that too on Vengara bypoll day, were only politically motivated.
Legal circles have raised serious reservations on the scope of slapping sexual harassment charges on the basis of the letter of Saritha Nair, even when none questions the government’s liberty to institute a Vigilance probe based on the Solar report.
After the initial shock, the Congress, backed by the UDF flock, went into damage control in the past few days. Oommen Chandy received ample legal muscle from various quarters to strike back, and he did it with elan, though it was not the same politically, going by an ambiguous stand of a handful of Congress leaders to support him. “We’re ready to take on the government legally, the very moment orders are issued for a probe based on the report,’’ Congress legislature party deputy leader K C Joseph told Express.
Joseph had raised the issue of breach of privilege of the Assembly against Pinarayi, saying the Chief Minister divulged the contents and conclusions of the Solar Commission report while announcing the probe against Chandy and other leaders.
Since the government has dilly-dallied on issuing orders after the initial bang and opted for presentation of the Solar report in the Assembly, while also putting the ball in the court of Justice (rtd) Arijith Pasayath, apparently on second thoughts of legal issues, the Congress and the UDF have been able to assert and put the opposite camp on a defensive . However, the LDF Government is determined to make a political kill out of the Solar report. The game has only begun, both legally and politically for both the Opposition and the ruling front.