Chandy questions secretariat siege's rationale, Left adamant

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 11 (IANS) Hours before the Left's "secretariat siege", Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Sunday questioned the rationale for the protest even as the opposition party remained adamant on going away with the stir.

The state secretariat is the seat of the Kerala government and the Left opposition has announced that starting Monday, no one will be allowed to enter until Chandy resigns for the solar scam.

On the other hand, Chandy told reporters that the central paramilitary forces, now deployed in and around the secretariat, have been asked to help the state government to see that normal life of the ordinary citizen is not affected.

"The responsibility of any state government is to see that law and order is maintained and it is for the people that the central forces have been summoned," he said.

"If the siege is peaceful then there is no problem at all, but if they create problems then it will be dealt with. I only want to know what if the Left was in power would have done in similar circumstances," he asked.

Chandy also questioned the rationale behind this siege when in West Bengal, there was a chit fund scam to the tune of Rs.3,000 crore and 1.4 million poor people lost their money.

"Why is that the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and its national leadership is not staging any protest in West Bengal, when they are creating this here where the scam is only Rs.7 crore and not a single rupee has been lost to the state exchequer. Hence they are playing only politics here," he alleged.

Meanwhile, the top brass of the Congress had an emergency meeting here and passed a resolution expressing complete support to the Chandy government.

"The Left opposition for sometime has been after the solar scam case and their objective of this anti-democratic protest is nothing but to topple an elected government. The party is strongly behind the government and it's the responsibility of the government to ensure that law and order is maintained," said state party chief Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here.

But CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan stood his ground and ruled out any conciliation talks in this matter with the government.

"All the four gates would be closed and our only demand is Chandy quit and face a judicial probe. There have been similar sieges in the past and central forces were never called in... all what we are doing is staging a peaceful protest. We are not interested in toppling any government," he said.

The central government has sanctioned 22 companies of paramilitary forces, all which have arrived in the state while the state police has earmarked 5,000 officials to tackle the protest.


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