Kerala Chief Minister rejects demand for his resignation

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday rejected the Opposition Left Democratic Front’s demand for his resignation in connection with the solar panel scam. The LDF, however, decided to step up its agitation and has called for a harthal on Wednesday.

The Assembly, which was scheduled to hold sittings till July 18, went through the motions of getting the finance bill passed before adjourning sine die, even as the Opposition continued to stall the proceedings.

Several influential people in the State and outside it were cheated of crores of rupees on the promise of providing solar panels and related equipment. The controversy saw one personal aide of the Chief Minister being arrested, another placed under suspension and a third quitting office for “abetting in the crime.” Three scam accused, including two women, have been arrested.

The United Democratic Front and the Congress party have extended unconditional support to the Chief Minister. Congress Working Committee member and Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s response put the brakes on speculations about a leadership change. “Currently, there is no political crisis in the UDF. So, don’t expect a change of guard,” he told media persons here.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has reportedly called for a status report on the developments. AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik too has sought a report from the State’s leadership, sources said.

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