KOCHI: The announcement to hand over sexual abuse case in solar scam to the CBI at a time when the state is readying for assembly polls is a big political gamble by the CPM-led LDF. It shows the ruling front’s knee-jerk reaction to the Congress decision to make Oommen Chandy, the head of the party’s election management and strategy committee a few days back, said political observers.
They said the LDF government's move could boomerang as the questions would be raised as to why it waited till the last year of their tenure to go for the CBI probe in a case where a commission and court rulings are yet to prove the sexual allegations.
"The public can easily sense that it is politically motivated especially when the government is at the fag end of its tenure," said J Prabhash, political analyst and former pro vice-chancellor of Kerala University.
He said the ruling Left front could have highlighted the government's achievements before the people. "But it seems they are not sure of their good work in their five-year rule. The CBI inquiry is only meant to corner the UDF," Prabhash said.
According to P Sujathan, a political observer, raising 'moral issue' has always been an LDF strategy during elections. "Allegations of sex scandal can easily influence the voters. The CPM is well aware of the fact that Chandy is the most popular Congress leader in the state and he could change the equation among the Christian voters. Hence it is adopting a strategy to demoralise him," he said.
Sujathan said the CPM has adopted a defensive strategy to counter the BJP and UDF's attack pertaining to gold smuggling case and Swapna Suresh’s link with Speaker Sreeramakrishnan and others.
Meanwhile, the Congress leaders pointed out that the CPM always wanted to project a 'moral issue' during any election season, just as the Left government strategically lodged an FIR in the same case a few days ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"The LDF government which spent lakhs of rupees to avoid a CBI probe in the murder of Youth Congress leaders Kripesh and Sarath Lal at Kasaragod by moving Supreme Court is now going after the central agency," said Hibi Eden, MP.
“The main objective of CPM is to target the star campaigner of UDF. It would be interesting to watch how the Congress leaders are going to counter the move,” Sujathan said.
Let CBI probe, won't take legal steps: Ex-CM Oommen Chandy
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former chief minister Oommen Chandy said he would not approach the court seeking legal action against the LDF government. The government, which could not do anything even after five years of assuming office has now come up with the new move, said Chandy.
He termed the government’s move politically motivated. "Let CBI investigate. The Left front, which had unleashed major agitation over the solar issue in the state, could not do anything in the past five years," Chandy told the media.
He pointed out that the High Court had severely criticised this case. "If there is investigation in a case in which I haven’t done anything wrong, I will face it," he said.
The former Chief Minister said he is ready to face any investigation. The government is trying to cover up its embarrassment, said Chandy, adding that the government decision will backfire. "The people are witness to everything. You cannot dupe the masses," he said.
It's a normal procedure, says CPM's A Vijayaraghavan
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM has termed it as a normal procedure. Party secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan said the government took the action based on the request by the complainant. "The government followed the legal course of action in the solar case. There was a probe commission and its report has also come out. The complainant demanded a CBI investigation. Naturally, the government took a favourable decision," he pointed out. "It was to give natural justice to the complainant. There is no need to criticise the decision or portray it in a different manner."