People's Democracy

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


No. 28

July 14, 2013




LDF Hartal Hits Normal Life All Over Kerala


N S Sajith


WHOLEHEARTEDLY receiving the call of a dawn to dusk hartal given by the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the people of Kerala issued on June 10 a staunch warning to the most corrupt chief minister Oommen Chandy against his brutal style of dealing with protestors including the opposition leader and MLAs. Normal life was totally disrupted in the state due to the 12 hours hartal in opposition to the recent solar panel scam. 


Except for a few private vehicles and two-wheelers, other modes of transport remained off the roads. Shops and hotels remained closed. All educational institutions and government offices including courts too remained closed. The State Transport Corporation’s buses came to a grinding halt. In some centres including Alappuzha and Kottayam, the police force’s provocation led to some minor untoward incidents. 


Braving the torrential rain across the state, thousands of LDF activists held huge demonstrations in every district and local area. Response of the people to the protest was overwhelming. The LDF has been on the agitation path for the past two weeks seeking to corner the government over the multi-crore solar panel scam which has brought the chief minister’s office under a cloud. 


Security had been tightened all over the state in view of the hartal call.


The LDF has decided to conduct a continuous struggle till the victory is achieved. LDF convener Vaikom Vishwan informed that the Left oriented trade unions, kisan and agriculture workers’ organisations would hold a march to the State Secretariat on July 12 and 15. The Left oriented student and youth organisations would organise a march on July 16 and 19. People’s representatives belonging to the LDF will hold a 48 hours sit-in at Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital, on July 22 and 23. 


However, Chandy, who has been refusing to tender his resignation, has been simply chanting that the charges against him were part of “a political conspiracy.”




The LDF’s call for a statewide hartal was occasioned by the extreme police barbarism a day before. On July 9, 2013, in an unprecedented display of brutality, the police force in Kerala created a pool of blood in the streets of the state capital. As a result of the police action on the day, opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and former minister and CPI leader C Divakaran had had to be hospitalised. What was quite unthinkable till the day, moreover, was that the police force hurled a grenade when V S Achuthanandan was addressing a huge protest march of MLAs to demand the immediate resignation of chief minister Oommen Chandy who has undoubtedly been involved in the multi-crore solar panel scam. 


The CPI(M)’s Thiruvananthapruam district secretary Kadakampalli Surendran too was seriously injured in the lathicharge, as were hundreds of DYFI activists. VS was admitted in the SUT Royal Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.


One may note that on July 8 too, the police and Youth Congress workers had jointly attacked the protest march organised by the AIYF. Several Congress goons, brought from Puduppalli, the constituency of Oommen Chandy, were in the forefront of police action in which AIYF state president G Krishnaprasad was injured. The attackers did not spare the women activists either.


It was in protest against these police-goon attacks that the LDF called for a dawn to dusk hartal on Wednesday.


The massive protest march of July 9 was organised soon after the assembly was adjourned sine die amid the continuous disruption of proceedings demanding the resignation of the chief minister. In the house, Oommen Chandy had made a desperate attempt to justify himself and rebut the allegations regarding the solar scam, especially after the revelation made by Sridharan Nair that he had met the chief minister last year, along with Saritha S Nair, who is the owner of the fraudulent firm called Team Solar. 


Even later, Sreedharan told Malayalam TV channels that he had met Chandy on July 9 last year and discussed the project in Saritha’s presence. In what has been called the solar panel scam, Saritha Nair and her accomplice, Biju Radhakrishnan, offered solar panel solutions to a large number of persons and defrauded them of crores of rupees.          


The scam took a political complexion with the arrest of one of Chandy's close personal aides, who has alleged links with the accused. Two other employees in his personal staff were post facto removed in connection with the scam.


Strongly refuting the opposition’s charge, Chandy maintained that he had met Sreedharan Nair as a representative of the quarry owners association and had “not discussed the solar project.” After the chief minister’s so called clarification, assembly speaker G Karthikeyan announced the adjournment of the house sine die, much in advance, as the session was scheduled to continue till July 18.


On the gruesome police brutality, CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said that the chief minister and the home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had lost their presence of mind. He was talking to media after visiting the LDF leaders and workers in the hospitals. This kind of brutality is unheard in the history of the state and it was unleashed as Chandy’s throne was shaking. The series of protests would continue till the LDF demands were fulfilled, Vijayan said. 


In the meanwhile, it was learnt that the Congress high command had sought a report on solar scam from its general secretary, Mukul Wasnik, who is in charge of Kerala.




Yet, all said and done, it appears that the countdown has started for the dethronement of Oommen Chandy who is currently struggling for survival against the rough and turbulent waters of the solar panel scam. On July 8, Chandy confessed in the Kerala legislative assembly that he had indeed met Sridharan Nair, a complainant and one among those who were cheated by the fraudulent firm, Team Solar. However, the chief minister said that Sridharan Nair had met him in his office in the capacity of a leader of the quarry owners organisation and not as a complainant in the solar scam. 


But within hours, Sridharan Nair, a local Congress leader from Ranni, who claims to have lost around 40 lakh rupees in this scam, revealed that he had met Oommen Chandy in the CMO where Saritha Nair too was present and that the CM had compelled him to get a three MW solar plant installed in his premises. He also said that in his presence the chief minister entitled Lakshmi Nair (Saritha Nair) to instal the plant and thus the deal with Saritha Nair was finalised through the chief minister. Oommen Chandy’ personal assistant, Teny Joppan, was also present on the occasion. Nair also told that he was facing pressure from the government.  


Sridharan Nair recorded all this information in a petition that he filed in a judicial magistrate court in Ranni in Pathanamthitta district. Judicial magistrate, Muhammed Raeez, handed over a copy of the complaint to the police authorities. 


This revelation may lead to resignation of the chief minister, and even to his arrest, as the evidence against him has been well established. The police was asked to file a charge sheet in this case within 48 hours. In this complaint Saritha Nair, Biju Radhakrishnan and Teny Joppan are the culprits. As the complaint has become public, the police may feel compelled has to include Oommen Chandy’s name in this list.




In a surprise move to save themselves from the tangle of the solar panel scam, chief minister Oommen Chandy and home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan have directed the special investigation team (SIT) to stop its work. On the pretext of there being a public interest litigation which demands a CBI inquiry into the scam, the chief minister and the home minister called the ADGP, A Hemachandran, who leads the SIT and ordered him to stop the inquiry. It is also believed that the team was directed not to make any case against former public relations director A Firoz.


The new move was made when there is a pile of evidence against both Chandy and Radhakrishnan. There were also leakages of the mobile call records of ministers and several Congress leaders. 


The government is likely to file an affidavit in the Kerala High court to favour the demand of a CBI inquiry. The process to launch a CBI inquiry may take more than six months from the day the state government makes a demand for it through a communication to the central government. 


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that any move for a CBI inquiry would provide enough time to the government to destroy the evidence. The culprits will thus get enough time to escape.