Four ministers of Kerala’s LDF government boycotted the cabinet meeting Wednesday to protest chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s inaction against transport minister Thomas Chandy over a case of land encroachment.
This is for the first time that ministers of ally Communist Party of India are boycotting the meeting. Speculation was rife till morning that Chandy will quit after meeting the CM. But his party, Nationalist Socialist Party, has sought time to peruse the judgment of the Kerala high court.
The high court dismissed Chandy’s petition on Tuesday challenging the report of the Alappuzha district collector, which had found that large-scale violations of Kerala Land Conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act had been committed by the luxury lake resort owned by the minister.
The high court also said how a minister can question the government’s action in which he is a part. “You are going against the government in which you are a part. If you have some grievances you can go to the government or the collector,” the court said, adding that the minister can’t drag the issue to the court to save his chair. The court also criticised the government saying it failed to take action at an appropriate time.
Despite mounting pressure from the ruling allies and senior leaders, the chief minister apparently delayed Chandy’s exit denting the image of the government that came to power citing kickbacks of the previous Congress-led UDF regime.
The NCP has only two legislators in the state assembly and their exit won’t affect the stability of the government.
Chandy was inducted into the Pinarayi government last April following the resignation of minister AK Saseendran over an alleged telephone sleaze scandal involving a woman journalist. Though there were many allegations of land grabbing against Chandy initially, the CM defended him strongly.