National

‘This scam in Kerala could be just the tip of the iceberg’

A. M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala State Secretary, CPI(M)

When this issue of solar scam attracted public interest, they (the BJP) were silent. Other than sending one of their leaders to channel debates, what did they do? Why this silence? Isn’t this match fixing?

The CPI(M) is engaged in a series of struggles against the United Democratic Front and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kerala. Thousands of Left Democratic Front activists had laid siege to the State Secretariat building last week, forcing the Government to announce a judicial probe into the solar panel scam. CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who was in New Delhi to attend the politburo meeting of his party, talked to Business Line on the importance of the struggle and other political developments in the State.

Excerpts:

How big is this (solar) scam compared with others such as the 2G, coal block allocation and Commonwealth Games scam?

Corruption is prevalent at every level under the present UDF Government. But, in this particular case, the first report itself had pointed out that the Chief Minister’s office was involved in the multi-crore solar scam. Later, evidence tumbled out, making it clear that the Chief Minister himself was involved. So, we demanded a judicial probe, as a police investigation will not help nab the real culprits. We have also sought his (Chandy) resignation when such a probe is on. He categorically told the Assembly that he was not ready for a judicial probe. After failing to face questions in the Assembly, the Government forced a sine die adjournment. We began State-wide protests, which the police handled in a brutal manner….(soon) more evidence appeared against the Chief Minister. We decided to lay siege to the Secretariat. We withdrew it once the Government agreed to hold a probe with a sitting High Court judge. Other forms of struggle, such as black flag protests and blockade against the Chief Minister will continue until he resigns.

The scam is basically on the alleged misuse of Central subsidy to non-conventional energy. Have you approached the Centre for a probe?

Such things will come out in a thorough probe. There were reports that Chandy had written to Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, seeking favours for the main culprits of this scam, who are now under arrest. Chandy has yet to deny the fact that he sent such a letter to Abdullah. The Government says they will hold discussions with the Opposition on the terms of reference of the judicial probe. We will discuss whether the role of the Centre could also be probed by this judicial commission. This scam in Kerala could be just the tip of the iceberg.

The BJP has alleged that CPI(M) has fooled its cadre by announcing a withdrawal from the secretariat siege. What is your response?

The BJP, particularly its Kerala unit, is the only party in India which will conspire with political opponents for financial benefits. In Kerala, they have traded their votes to Congress to defeat Left candidates. It is their culture. BJP is an opposition party in the States with no seats in the Assembly. When this issue of solar scam attracted public interest, they were silent. Other than sending one of their leaders to channel debates, what did they do? Why this silence? Isn’t this match fixing?

Has the CPI(M) started preparations for the Lok Sabha polls? What are your chances in Kerala?

The LDF lost the 2011 Assembly elections by a very thin margin. Now, we have strengthened our position. UDF is facing a number of internal and external issues. It is disintegrating because of its internal issues. We will have better results in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

>jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 18, 2013

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