Congress in Kerala backs CM; says no leadership change

The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee came out in support of state Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whose office has come under cloud in the solar scam.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday came out in support of state Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whose office has come under cloud in the solar scam, saying there was no need for his resignation on the issue.

"Congress will launch a counter campaign to expose the nefarious designs of CPI-M-led LDF opposition to tarnish the image of the Chief Minister and UDF government," KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here.

Justifying Chandy`s decision not to quit on the issue, Chennithala said the opposition was not able to come out with a single evidence to link Chandy with the scam.

There was no need for Chandy to resign for certain mistakes committed by some of his staff, he said, claiming LDF protests were with an eye on coming Lok Sabha polls.

Referring to the scam, he said it was a clear case of cheating and the special investigation team set up by the government was doing its job efficiently.

Ruling out any change in leadership, Chennithala said the main agenda now before congress in the state was to take on the challenge of LDF and prepare itself for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

He also said CPI-M efforts to score political mileage over the issue would not succeed. On the controversy over phone calls reportedly made by ministers to the accused in the scam Saritha Nair, Chennithala said the pertinent question was whether the UDF government gave any concessions to Saritha`s firm or issued any special order in favour of their company.

"Nothing of that sort had happened and LDF also could not bring out any evidence in this regard," he said.

However, he said mistakes of the Chief Minister`s personal staff would be noted very seriously and "henceforth party will do some scrutiny before the appointment of personal staff of ministers."

Asked whether KPCC had given any report to the party high command on the issue, Chennithala maintained that as a president it was his duty to give periodical reports of the political situation in the state. "That I have done and nothing more than that," he added.

Taking a dig at the LDF which, he said, has not sought resignation of JD-S MLA Jose Thettayil embroiled in a sexual harassment case, Chennithala said, "LDF has no moral right to ask for resignation of Chandy on moral grounds and we do not want to learn ethical values from LDF."

The scam pertains to alleged cheating of several persons to the tune of crores of rupees by Saritha and her accomplice Biju Radhakrishnan by offering solar panel solutions.

It 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.