The solar scandal that took Kerala by storm about four years ago has resurfaced with a vengeance. It was indeed a quick response by the LDF government as it took only a fortnight to respond to the findings of the Justice G Sivarajan panel that probed the scandal. CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the government will start a probe by a special investigation team and the Vigilance Department against former CM Oommen Chandy and an array of former ministers as also MLAs and MPs, both past and present. A few senior police officers too figure in the list. Adding insult to injury, sexual harassment and rape charges too are being slapped against senior politicians, including Chandy.
The timing of the announcement by the CM was significant as it came only a few hours after the crucial Vengara bypoll got underway, thus opening a political Pandora’s box. Putting on a brave face, Oommen Chandy said he and his party have no reason to fear such politically motivated investigations.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and A K Antony too have come out strongly against the Pinarayi government alleging it was a cheap political trick played on the day of the bypoll. Bravado apart, there is no denying tough days are ahead for the Congress.
What began as allegations against a marketing company to get itself empanelled for installing 10,000 roof-top solar power panels in 2013 snowballed into a political avalanche over the next couple of years and swept out an elected government in 2016. There then came a slew of charges about sexual favours discharged to clinch the contract.
The last Assembly campaign got swamped by libidinous charges and countercharges to a degree hitherto not witnessed. Four years after the ‘indefinite’ secretariat siege against the solar scam that was called off after a day, planting seeds of doubt within its cadre, it is now redemption time for the CPM. The woman scorned may have claimed her pound of flesh. Yet, it may be too early to write Chandy’s political epitaph.