LDF hartal hits normal life in Kerala

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Normal life was today disrupted in Kerala due to the dawn-to-dusk 12-hour hartal called by CPI-M led LDF to demand resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the solar scam issue.

Except for a few private vehicles and two-wheelers, other modes of transport were off the road while shops, including hotels remained closed.

Passengers, who arrived at railway stations and airports unaware of the strike, called last evening, were stranded due to non-availability of public transport, reports received here said.

Barring a few incidents of stone pelting on private vehicles in some places, no violence was reported in connection with the hartal so far, police said.

Security had been tightened all over the state in view of the hartal, which has been called by the LDF as it stepped up pressure on the Congress-led UDF Government.

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.

Chandy, who firmly rejected the demand for his resignation, has dismissed the charges against him as “a political conspiracy”.

The assembly was adjourned sine-die yesterday after the LDF continued to disrupt the proceedings over the scam.

LDF supporters yesterday clashed with police near the secretariat complex forcing police to fire teargas shells.

The solar scam pertains to alleged cheating of several persons to the tune of crores of rupees by Saritha Nair and her accomplice Biju Radhakrishnan by offering to get them solar panel solutions. The two have been arrested besides actress Shalu Menon.

They have been charged with luring investors on the promise of getting solar panel solutions by stating that they had high-level connections in the government.

The scam took a political turn 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 have also been removed in connection with the scam.

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