Antony bats for Chandy, says no crisis in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, July 9 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday said there was no crisis in the Congress-led government in Kerala, and backed his party colleague and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who has denied any involvement in an alleged scam.

"There is no crisis at all here and no need to expect a change in government," Antony told reporters at Kochi.

"The need of the hour is that the Left opposition should show restraint while protesting. It's not fair to drag in the names of family members in political issues," said Antony.

The opposition has demanded Chandy's resignation and that he face a judicial probe after Sreedharan Nair, a businessman, Monday told TV channels he had met Chandy at his office here along with the now arrested Saritha S. Nair July 9 last year, in what is being described as 'solar scam'.

The scam relates to non-delivery of solar panels despite payments made for these and a proposal to set up a unit for solar panels by a con-couple.

Antony asked the opposition not to unleash violence to mount pressure for seeking Chandy's resignation.

Angry supporters of the Left opposition earlier clashed with police in the state capital, demanding the resignation of Chandy.

The state assembly was adjourned sine die by Speaker G. Karthikeyan in the wake of the Left opposition's continued protests in the house that conrtnued for the 10th day.

The opposition members have been demanding the resignation of Chandy ever since the 'solar scam' surfaced.

Soon after the assembly session was called off, angry Left legislators marched to the state secretariat where the student and youth organisations of their parties were protesting.

To disperse the agitators, police used force.

"This is something that has been unheard of in the state where even legislators have to face the fury of police. The Chandy government is playing with fire and if they think they can contain the protests using force, then they are mistaken," said Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator T.V. Rajesh.

But Congress legislator Sunny Joseph said that the opposition should make use of the assembly to take on the government and not to unleash violence in the streets.

"They are playing needless politics over a non-issue," said Joseph.

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