ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The 'Solar Scam' and the Siege at Thiruvananthapuram

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front had announced an indefinite siege of the Kerala state secretariat until the chiefminister owned responsibility for the "solar scam" and resigned. The calling off of this indefinitesiege within 30 hours raises a number of questions, including about the political conduct of the CPI(M) itself.

The siege of the state secretariat in Kerala by the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) that commenced on 12 August was unprecedented in terms of the number of participants but was called off within 30 hours of its inauguration. The LDF decided to do so after the state government declared that it would order a judicial probe into the “solar scam” with reference to which the resignation of the chief minister had been demanded. As regards the demand for resignation, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M) – state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan declared at the venue of the siege that the struggle on this count would continue in other forms. What has surprised observers is the swift turn of events in the course of the agitation connected with the scam that had been hitting the headlines. Striking, in particular, is the anticlimax to the spirited utterances in the beginning that the siege would not end before the resignation of the chief minister.

Considering that the chief minister Oommen Chandy had expressed his readiness to face judicial or any other enquiry in the matter much before the opposition took recourse to aggressive forms of agitation, the inference that nothing tangible has been achieved by the siege is gaining ground, fuelling speculations about a probable “secret deal” between the leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and the LDF, in particular, the latter’s main constituent, the CPI(M). Even though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the first to air this suspicion, urging the CPI(M) leadership to clarify whether the leader of the opposition in the state assembly and Pinarayi’s bête noire in the party, V S Achuthanandan (VS) had been consulted before the decision to call off the siege was taken, reports suggest widespread discontent among the camp followers of VS as well.

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