THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking time off for an exclusive interview over the phone with Mathew A Thomas, an unfazed Oommen Chandy said a ‘limping LDF Government’ had made a ‘wrong political move’ in a bid to collectively browbeat the Congress and the UDF. "The government will have to pay a heavy price for that," he said. He was ‘not tensed in any way earlier or now’ on the LDF Government’s decision to open the Solar Commission report and strap him and many others in the Opposition. "If there is even one-hundredth of truth in the charges levelled against me and, if proved, I shall quit politics and public life,’’ he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Did you foresee this kind of a turn in the Solar case?
A: I have no tension. Not earlier, not now. I’ve done nothing wrong. The decision of the Left Government is a collective political move against the Congress and the Opposition as it is limping with governance. The government is not able to move an inch forward and it needs other ways to pull on.
Q: Are you determined to take the slapping of Vigilance case against you as a political challenge? Would it make any change in your roles or pull you back politically?
A: The government move will only help the Opposition UDF strengthen its arsenal to counter the ruling LDF. The developments will not affect my roles to strengthen the Congress and the UDF. If anyone is under a notion the UDF can be tied down politically, that too on the Vengara bypoll day, they will have to repent. For me, this is an opportunity to strike hard and prove myself. I will continue to play my roles in the current manner itself. I’ll not run away from that. The Pinarayi Government is making a wrong political move over the Solar scam report. It will have to pay a heavy political price for that.
Q: Apart from the charge of accepting bribe, a former Chief Minister may have to stand legal scrutiny in a sex harassment case as well if the probe ordered by the government is likely to be driven on preferred political tracks.
A: What can I say on the charge of sexual harassment (laughs)? Wait for two more days. Whether there are any inferences in the commission report or had the Chief Minister and the Cabinet come to it on their own wisdom of political compulsions will be known soon. The government has not published the Commission report and posted it on the official website. The Chief Minister didn’t say anything on the terms of reference or whether any loss was incurred by the state exchequer.
If there is any inference on the part of the Commission charges of me accepting bribe or sexual harassment, then the witness record supportive to it should be there. No independent witness had deposed against me or anyone allegedly accused in the scam. Not even Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri.
Only witnesses with vested interests had made accusations before the Commission. The Commission had even recorded the woman who had raised the charges as untrustworthy. Once the Solar Commission Report and inferences based on its terms of reference are out, the government is going to be cornered.
Q: The Congress organisational poll exercise is progressing. Won’t at least the ‘A’ faction, presided over by you, find itself on a weak wicket? The choice of the next KPCC president depends on your final call as the ‘I’ faction has also approved such an arrangement.
A: Such things will not be influenced in any way (by the current developments).
Q: The main allegation or public presumption the UDF and the LDF would never go beyond a limit in pouncing on each other in the peculiar political canvas of the state seems altered with the current decision of the LDF Government. While you were CM, there were instances like your immediate predecessor being pinned for gifting revenue land for his close relative but your government preferred slow pedalling the case.
A: Not only the land gift case, but also the Assembly panel had held V S Achuthanandan’s son sole beneficiary of undue favours and plum postings under the LDF Government headed by his father. We were against unleashing political vendetta against opponents in any manner.
Q: Former CM V S Achuthanandan, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and many others are clamouring for your quitting from public life in the wake of the government decision on the Solar report.
A: Even if there is one-hundredth of truth in the allegations levelled against me, I shall quit public life and politics.
Taking time off for an exclusive interview over the phone with Mathew A Thomas, an unfazed Chandy said a ‘limping LDF Government’ had made a ‘wrong political move.'