Scribe reignites ado over secretariat siege in Kerala

The new revelations over LDF’s secretariat siege seeking the resignation of the then chief minister Oommen Chandy, were made by senior journalist John Mundakkayam, in his book on the solar scam.
John Brittas
John BrittasPhoto | Special Arrangement

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leader and then home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had reached out to the CPM to end the LDF’s 2013 secretariat siege over the solar scandal, said Congress leader Cherian Philip, who was part of the Left camp at the time. Even as the state witnesses a fresh political debate over who took the initiative to settle the solar agitation, Cherian’s revelation has added a new twist to the entire saga.

The new revelations over LDF’s secretariat siege seeking the resignation of the then chief minister Oommen Chandy, were made by senior journalist John Mundakkayam, in his book on the solar scam, which is being serialised by Samakalika Malayalam Vaarika, a sister publication of The New Indian Express.

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

In its latest issue, the article indicated a clandestine operation by the CPM to settle the agitation.

It was John Brittas - heading the CPM-run Kairali television channel - who took the initiative and reached out to settle the agitation, the article says. Mundakkayam claims that Brittas, on behalf of the CPM, rang him up, seeking to settle the siege.

The abrupt ending of the massive siege which had paralysed the functioning of the secretariat, had triggered many discussions and suspicions at the time.

However, Brittas flatly denied the allegation, terming it mere fiction. “There’s half-truth in what the article said. The then home minister Thiruvanchoor (Radhakrishnan) had got in touch to find a solution to the agitation. He called Cherian Philip, who handed me the phone. Thiruvanchoor said the government was ready for any kind of compromise,” said Brittas.

Meanwhile, Thiruvanchoor endorsed Mundakkayam’s revelations.

“There is nothing controversial in the new revelations. We held discussions with everyone to find a solution. The demand was the chief minister’s resignation. The UDF was not ready for it. Later when they wanted to settle the agitation, we responded positively,” said Radhakrishnan, adding that UDF had the satisfaction of getting the expected result.

Even as the political slugfest continues, Cherian, who was part of the Left camp in 2013, came out with a clarification which could put the Congress in an embarrassing position. He said it was Thiruvanchoor who initiated talks and called him up to settle the strike. “The decision was taken at an LDF meeting led by V S Achuthanandan. While I was at the Kairali TV office, Thiruvanchoor called me up asking how the strike could be settled. Following this, Brittas and I went to Thiruvanchoor’s house together,” said Philip.

‘Allegations of settling solar case protest baseless’

Kannur: CPM state committee member and Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan has dismissed senior journalist John Mundakkayam’s allegations that CPM leaders intervened to settle the solar case protest. Addressing a press conference in Kannur on Friday, Jayarajan labelled the allegations as propaganda against the CPM. He asserted that the party had no reason to settle the protest.

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