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CPI skips Kerala cabinet meet attended by Thomas Chandy

15 November 2017

The Kerala High Court had on Tuesday rejected the plea filed by Thomas Chandy against Alappuzha district collector's report in connection with the land encroachment issue.

Chandy, a three-time MLA of the NCP, had been inducted into the cabinet eight months ago following the resignation of A.K. Saseendran.

Several members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) have been demanding Chandy's resignation for some time. (The complaint, given by purportedly a journalist, was withdrawn and settled out of court recently.) Chandy, had become minister, even if he had a shadowy past rife with charges of allegedly siphoning of millions from the Indian School in Kuwait, run by the Indian community, in early 2000.

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Alappuzha District Collector T V Anupama had recently submitted a report to the government, stating there was large scale violations of Kerala Land Conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act. Chandy came to the Secretariat after calling on the chief minister at the Cliff House.

Responding to the High Court verdict, Chandy said Tuesday that he would quit if the observation against him is in the signed verdict of the High Court.

NCP leader TP Peethamabaran said the resignation letter has been handed over to Vijayan.

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The NCP had also been asked to take a stand on it, he said.

The LDF seemed to bend over backwards to somehow accommodate the concerns of a troubled minister, a decision which toed the line of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. "They said they need to discuss the issue with their party national leadership", Vijayan told reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Chandrasekheran later told the media that they had clearly expressed the reason for not attending the meeting to the Chief Minister. But the leadership, with which Mr. Chandy, a businessman, enjoys considerable clout, remained in a catch 22 and sought to "convey the majority sentiments to the party's central leadership" for a final decision on the matter.

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Mr Vijayan took over as Chief Minister past year; two ministers have been forced to quit since then.

CPI skips Kerala cabinet meet attended by Thomas Chandy