How CPI (M) brokered a deal with ruling Congress in Kerala to withdraw its Secretariat siege against then CM in Solar scam

In 2023, C Divakaran had accused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress party of striking a secret deal to prematurely halt the Solar scam protest.
Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas
Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas

The solar scam, that rocked Kerala politics about a decade ago, is back in the headlines after a senior journalist's revelation that CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) pulled out of its Secretariat siege in 2013 demanding the resignation of then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his alleged involvement in the scam, after reaching a deal with the ruling Congress party.

It was John Brittas, Rajya Sabha MP, managing director of a pro-CPI (M) news channel and a close confidant of Pinarayi Vijayan, who brokered the deal, claimed the journalist John Mundakayam.

The journalist's revelation, published in Samakalika Malayalam weekly, went on to claim that Brittas made a phone call to him with a query, "shouldn't the protest come to an end?" Thereafter, Brittas asked the journalist to inform CM Chandy that the protest would be called off if a press conference was convened immediately to announce a judicial probe into the solar scam. When the journalist brought to the notice of Brittas that already the CM has announced a judicial probe, Brittas reportedly insisted that a probe should be announced by convening a press conference. After verifying as to whether the request was from the CPI (M) leadership, he informed Chandy. The CM asked the journalist to convey the message to IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty, who in turn informed Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. Later, NK Premachandran met the UDF leaders as a representative of the Left Front thereby bringing the protest to an end.

At the time Thomas Isaac had expressed his displeasure over the way the Left Front protest was withdrawn abruptly. He was of the opinion that had the protest continued for a day or two, Oommen Chandy would have been forced to resign under pressure.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that a similar revelation was made by CPI leader C Divakaran earlier. In 2023, Divakaran accused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress party of striking a secret agreement to prematurely halt the Solar scam protest.

According to a report published by the pro-BJP Janam Online (TV), recalling the tense atmosphere during the Solar scam protest, Divakaran emphasized the moment when LDF protesters had encircled the Secretariat. The demonstration had gained significant momentum, with protesters demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the thorough investigation of the scam. As tensions escalated, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sought the assistance of the central government. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, a two-day holiday was declared, allowing for negotiations to take place.

It was during these discussions that, according to Divakaran, an unexpected understanding was reached between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the LDF. This sudden turn of events led to the decision to call off the protest, leaving many questioning the nature and consequences of the alleged agreement.

The Solar panel scam of 2013 relates to Team Solar, run by Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair, that developed links with the Chief Minister and other influential persons and went on to dupe several persons to the tune of Rs 70 lakh by offering franchise in their company or installing solar panels. Saritha was the key accused in the case.

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