People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 26

June 30, 2013




CMO Tangle Gets Further Complicated


N S Sajith


NOW an AICC teamís visit to Kerala to discuss the change of guard in the UDF government is almost certain. On the other hand, the maze regarding the functioning of the chief ministerís office (CMO) got more complicated with the revelation made by a woman against the staff of the CMO. She told the media that her complaint on sexual harassment against one Girish was suppressed by the top brass. As soon as the story broke out, the embarrassment of the chief minister and his men was more than evident, and they hurriedly issued a press statement to announce the expulsion of the errant staff member. However, to make matters worse for the chief minister, the press statement contained the details about the victim whereas to reveal the name and other details of such a victim is clearly against the law and a violation of the Supreme Court normís.


Oommen Chandy now seems defenceless and has miserably failed to convince the people of Kerala after the outbreak of the solar plant scam and controversy. In their confessions, Sarita S Nair and her husband, Biju Radhakrishnan, the owners of the fraudulent firm called Team Solar, have divulged that they had been enjoying the privileges coming from the chief minister and his men to run the firm.


After the solar plant scam and controversy erupted, a series of confessions and revelations came out against the misdeeds of the chief minister and his office. It now transpires that a chit fund firm named Apple Tree, at Changanasseri in Kottayam district, which cheated thousands of investors, was also receiving the patronage of the chief minister. This has been confirmed by a telephone tape which contains the sound bites of the firmís owners. This tape was leaked out by a section of the media.


In another but related development, Firoze, director of the public relation department of Kerala, was sacked. He was an accused, along with Sarita Nair, in the case of cheating. A vigilance probe has been ordered against Firoze.


An AICC team led by its general secretary Mukul Wasnik, who is in charge of Kerala, is expected to reach Kerala soon to discuss the leadership change. AICC secretary Dipak Bahri will also come for discussions. This was decided soon after Ramesh Chennithal, the KPCC president, met Mrs Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.


Following these developments, the Kerala state assembly came to an abrupt end --- obviously to save the badly entangled Chandy.


On June 24, 2013, to evade an all-out attack from the opposition in the heating-up issue of the solar plant scam, G Karthikeyan, speaker of the Kerala assembly, wrapped up the session as much as two weeks before the stipulated time. The speakerís decision to cut the session short came in the backdrop of the peopleís struggle demanding immediate resignation of the chief minister --- a demand which has been gaining momentum.


The struggle under the leadership of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) all over the state has also been demanding an instant judicial probe into the solar plant scam.


The house witnessed unprecedented scenes on June 24, Monday, when V S Achuthanandan, leader of the opposition, rose to speak. It was a quite abominable act on the part of the speaker, G Karthikeyan, that he got the mike switched off. The speaker thus reduced himself to the level of a spokesperson of the ruling front.


Earlier, the speaker had denied permission to E P Jayarajan to move an adjournment motion demanding that strict action should be taken against the chief minister Oommen Chandyís staff member Girish Kumar. E P Jayarajan said that the chief minister was protecting Girish Kumar against whom a sexual harassment case had been registered after a teacher made a complaint.


After E P Jayarajanís speech, V S Achuthanandan made his speech accusing the chief minister of protecting his gunman, Salim Raj, who had helped Sarita S Nair, the main figure in the fraudulent firm Team Solar. When the members in the UDF benches started creating turmoil in the house, the speaker got the mike of V S Achuthanandan switched off.


In the midst of this very kind of chaos, however, chief minister Oommen Chandy and home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan sought to protect Girish Kumar and Salim Raj. UDF members tried to storm the opposition benches when V S Achuthanandan made some comments on the basis of the complaint made by Oommen Chandyís former son-in-law against Salim Raj.


In the period since then, the speaker held a meeting with the ministers while the chief minister moved a resolution for adjournment of the house for the next two weeks. The resolution was passed in the midst of protest registered by the opposition.


On the other hand, LDF workers organised protest marches to the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and to various district collectorates. CPI(M) state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan, inaugurated the protest march to the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. He said Oommen Chandy had lost the right to continue as the chief minister as his involvement in the solar plant scam was proved beyond doubt, that as it was ridiculous that Chandy was trying to justify himself, and that he must resign from the post without any delay. CPI state secretary Pannyan Raveendran, LDF convener Vaikom Vishwan, Kerala Congress chairman P C Thomas and Congress (S) leader Ramachandran Kadannappalli also addressed the protest marchers.