THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF meeting on Sunday entrusted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with the decision on the fate of embattled Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who faces allegations of encroachment of government land and backwaters. Meanwhile, there are strong indications Chandy would step down this week.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran was among the LDF leaders who had called for Chandy’s resignation to save the face of the government and the ruling combine. He criticised the minister’s decision to approach the court against Alappuzha District Collector T V Anupama’s report, which substantiated the charges levelled against Chandy.
The Janata Dal (S) also took the stand the beleaguered minister’s resignation was inevitable. Both the CPI and the Janata Dal (S) were of the view the NCP should take the decision to recall its ministerial representative.
Though the NCP initially threw its weight behind the minister, the strong stance adopted by the CPI and Janata Dal (S) forced its leaders to soften their stand. The NCP, however, urged the allies to wait until the High Court verdict on the petition filed by Chandy.
However, Kanam ridiculed this argument. A decent way out, he told the NCP leaders, was for the minister to keep away from the post until he was cleared of the charges. Kanam also flayed the minister for his controversial comments in Alappuzha at a reception for the LDF’s Jana Jagrata Yatra. Chandy, who attended the meeting, sought to defend himself saying he had not violated any rules.
The CPM, as per the decision of its party secretariat the other day, did not demand Chandy’s resignation. Party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the NCP can take a studied decision on the matter.
Kodiyeri also suggested giving the NCP sufficient time to make up its mind, only to be opposed by Kanam. The CPM and the Congress (S) did not press for the minister’s resignation but stated they will stand by the consensus arrived at the meeting.
As a consensus eluded the two-hour meeting, the leaders agreed to leave the matter to the Chief Minister based on the Advocate General’s legal counsel. Kanam said his party will have to make a public comment on the issue if the decision is delayed.
NCP softens stand
Though the NCP initially threw its weight behind Thomas Chandy, the strong stance adopted by the CPI and Janata Dal (S) forced its leaders to soften their stand. The NCP, however, urged the allies to wait until the High Court verdict on the petition filed by Chandy.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said after the LDF meeting he was happy with the deliberations which many view as a sign of the minister’s impending resignation.