NCP rejects demand for resignation of nominee in LDF govt

Thomas Chandy

Kerala's tainted NCP Min runs out of options

Kerala Transports Minister Thomas Chandy, the only NCP minister in entire India, has expressed willingness to resign from the State Cabinet as his position has become extremely untenable following serious allegations of encroaching public land and lake, land-filling paddy fields and wetlands in violation of laws and rules and carrying out construction for own business purposes by misusing public funds.

The Congress-led UDF and BJP demanded Chandy's resignation after Alappuzha district collector T V Anupama confirmed that a paddy field had been reclaimed for laying the road to his resort.

This consensus was evolved after strong opposition from CPI and Janatha Dal, who demanded the resignation of the Minister. At the same time, Chandy challenged the collector's report in the High Court triggering a controversy over the appropriateness of a Minister questioning the validity of a report from the Government's own official. The findings of the district collectors report cannot be ignored, the sources said.

The exit of Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy from the cabinet seems imminent with the co-ordination committee of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Sunday leaving the final decision to the Chief Minister.

NCP made its stand clear on the issue ahead of the crucial LDF meeting tomorrow in Thirunvananthapuram in which leaders of the alliance, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, are expected to discuss the AG's report and take a decision on it. "The sooner the Chief Minister acts, the better", said a Kochi-based former CPI (M) theorist. Sources said the LDF has conveyed to the NCP the prevailing mood against Chandy.

Challenging the collector's report, Chandy had last week moved the Kerala High Court, contending that the collector conducted an unfair inquiry into the "wild and baseless" allegations against his company, Water World Tourism. He said the allegations were levelled only to target him "with the set agenda orchestrated" by his political rivals, interested parties, and the media conjointly.

The BJP leaders alleged that Chandy had not disclosed assets registered in the name of his wife and other dependents in an affidavit submitted before the Election Commission (EC).

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