CPI, the second largest partner in the ruling CPM-led LDF in Kerala, said an "extraordinary situation" forced the party to take the "unusual" step of skipping the cabinet meeting over the Thomas Chandy resignation issue.
CPI ministers E Chandrasekharan, V S Sunil Kumar, K Raju and P Thilothaman did not attend the cabinet meeting on Wednesday as per a party directive asking them "not to attend the cabinet meet if Chandy took part." Chandy, who was facing encroachment charges, resigned after the cabinet meeting.
"Extraordinary situation forced the party to take such an unusual step with good knowledge that it was an unprecedented action," CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said in an editorial in the party organ 'Janayugam' daily, a day after Chief minister described the partner's move as "unprecedented".
Chandy, accused of land encroachment for his luxury resort, resigned from the Cabinet Wednesday.The land encroachment allegations brought to the fore differences in the ruling LDF with CPI asking its four ministers to stay away from a Cabinet meeting held earlier if Chandy attended it.
Meanwhile, CPM leader and state law minister A K Balan said the CPI ministers' action was not the right step. "They kept away from a Cabinet meet that took very important decisions," Balan said. "Whatever be the reason, it was not correct," he said, reacting to the CPI's stand.
Chandy, NCP nominee in the LDF government led by Pinarayi, attended the cabinet meet and later in the day tendered his resignation.
Referring to Pinarayi's remark that the CPI ministers' action was unprecedented, Rajendran said the party was fully aware that it was an unusual step and it led to "expected result" in state politics.
Pinarayi had stated that CPI's action was unprecedented and which should not have happened. The CPI leader further said in the editorial that the Kerala High Court order dismissing Chandy's petition in a related case and strong observations had virtually questioned his very continuation in the ministry.
It has become clear that Chandy attending the Cabinet meeting was in "violation" of the Constitution and democratic ethics, and this had resulted in the party taking a decision to keep away from the same, Rajendran said.
The CPI leader also reminded that people voted LDF to power after witnessing the "corruption and degradation in political values and misuse of power" by the Congress-led UDF government.
Attacking the LDF over the development, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress said CPI ministers who lost trust in the chief minister should not continue in the ministry.
Chennithala also said CPI ministers boycotting the cabinet meeting was the first such incident in the history of the state, which was facing a deep "administrative crisis." Chennithala, who is leading a 'padayatra' from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram to highlight the "failures" of LDF government in Kerala and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, told reporters in Thrissur that yesterday's incident had proved that Pinarayi was a "weak" Chief Minister.
The Congress leader also wanted to know from the chief minister whether it was Chandy's alleged financial dealings with the CPM that forced him to protect Chandy despite strong opposition from others.
Thomas Chandy, a businessman-turned-politician, had come under attack from the UDF and BJP as allegations surfaced that his company had violated rules to construct a parking area and a road through a paddy field to his Lake Palace resort in Alappuzha district.