SOLAR scandal case and the CPM-led Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) protests against it have been taking a non-violent path until recently. Suddenly the struggle underwent a violent change last week. The result is a grave and a first incident of that sort in Kerala history. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was physically attacked when he came to Kannur, the bastion CPM in Kerala. He came to the district to attend a public programme. Kannur has got a peculiar position in Kerala’s political history. Communist Party of India formed its Kerala unit’s first branch in Kannur district. CPM’s state supremo Pinaryi Vijayan, his trusted lieutenant and former Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and several other senior leaders of the party belong to the same district. Since 1978, Kannur is known for the bloody, violent political clashes, especially between RSS and CPM. More than two hundred murders have taken place in the district due to CPM-RSS clashes. And, Congress-CPM clashes are also not strange. In 1994, five CPM youths were killed in police firing when CPM cadres allegedly tried to attack the then minister and rebel CPM leader MV Raghavan.
A physical attack on a CM is the first incident of that sort in Kerala since the very inception of the state in 1956 . Now blame games rule the roost. CPM and LDF refute the Congress and UDF allegation. They claim that the attack was engineered by Congress and UDF men. Pinarayi’s bête noir and leader of the opposition in the state assembly VS Achuthanandan visited the CM in the hospital and denounced the attack while speaking to the media persons. Pannyan Raveendran, state secretary of CPI, the second largest constituent of the LDF, told that LDF’s Solargate agitation lost its credibility due to the attack on CM. He visited the injured CM. Pinarayi told the media men that Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan advised them not to visit the injured CM. Violent protest by the UDF cadres was the alibi.
Meanwhile 15 men have been arrested in Kannur in this connection. Two CPM MLAs are the first and second accused in the case registered so far. Remand report alleges that the attack was an attempt to assassinate the CM. It says the assailants had carried stones, wooden sticks and iron rods and they shouted – “Kill Sarita Chandy”. (Sarita is the prime accused in the infamous Solargate case).