As the student agitation demanding the resignation of Kerala Law Academy Principal Lakshmi Nair is all poised to enter into second month, its ripples have brought out the deep differences with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government with Chief Ministers and his colleagues speaking in different voices

 

In the course of the student protests, the allocation of public land to the Academy, which is controlled by the family of celebrity cookery show host Lakshmi Nair, had come under scrutiny with various political parties demanding the revocation of land assignment. The Revenue Minister E Chadrashekharan of the CPI, the second largest party in the LDF, ordered a secretary level investigation last week after former Chief Minister and veteran CPM leader VS Achuthanandan submitted a letter drawing his attention into allegations of land fraud. As the state Revenue Secretary is busy inquiring into allegations, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday dismissed the very purpose of such an inquiry by categorically rejecting any action regarding the land allocation.  

 

Soon after the Chief Minister's statement, Revenue Minister E Chandrashekharan clarified that the secretary level inquiry would continue and action would be taken as per the report. Achuthanandan had demanded that the 11.49 acres of land assigned to the Law Academy should be taken back. Besides CPI, BJP and the Congress-led UDF are also demanding revocation of the land assignment. But the CPM and its students’ organisation SFI, which called off its stir against the academy after an agreement with the management, have not raised the question of the land even after others raised it as a burning issue.

 

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Achuthandan reminded Pinarayi Vijayan that protecting alienated public land and taking stern action against misuse of assigned lands are the primary responsibility of the any government.

 

Interestingly, the student struggle, sparked off by the alleged harassment of the Academy, has become a major headache for the ruling coalition with its major partners fighting each other over it. The CPM's unreserved support to Lakshmi Nair and the academy run by a council dominated by her family members has created confusion in the communist party and its feeder organizations.

 

Though the government on Saturday tried to find a solution to the students’ agitation, it failed to reach a consensus as the students stood strong by their demand for the resignation of Lakshmi Nair. It also saw the walkout of Education Minister Raveendranath who chaired the meeting after students plainly asked him to stop playing an advocate of the Law Academy Management.