Kerala secretariat siege today

CRPF camp_0.jpg

Thiruvananthapuram: The battle lines appear to have been drawn in the state capital with agitators pouring in for the Left Democratic Front’s indefinite Secretariat siege starting Monday and central forces readying to face the situation.
On Sunday, both chief minister Oommen Chandy and CPM state secretary defended their decisions. Chandy stood by his decision to call central forces and Pinarayi Vijayan was firm on nothing less than the chief minister’s resignation.
Chandy made his stand clear when he told mediapersons that central forces were called in taking into account the safety and security of the people. He offered to hold talks with the Opposition which was rejected outright by the  CPM state secretary and Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan.
“The central forces won’t be pressed into action if the protest is peaceful. The statements of CPM leaders like Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that the stir will be peaceful are welcome. But LDF convener Vaikom Viswan has gone on record saying that no one will be allowed into the Secretariat. This will bring administration to a standstill”, said Chandy.
He made it clear that the Cantonment Gate would remain open for ministers, staff and the public. “I’ll be going to office,” he added.
He also took a dig at national leaders like Prakash Karat who would inaugurate the agitation and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who is expected to address the agitators. “The LDF agitation is against what it terms a Rs 7 cr solar scam when West Bengal witnessed cheating to the tune of Rs 3,000 cr which affected 1.4 million rural farmers”, he said. Chandy also expressed surprise at Gowda coming for the agitation when he was in league with the BJP in Karnataka.
Pinarayi Vijayan said the LDF would continue the strike till chief minister Oommen Chandy resigned. He, however, added that the Opposition would not go in for a violent agitation.
The LDF had no agenda of toppling the state government, Pinarayi told reporters here in reply to the 13 posers with which the chief minister had addressed the Opposition.
Pinarayi Vijayan said he did not have a set of 13 questions like the chief minister, but just one - why did the Advocate-General appear on behalf of the chief minister’s former gunman in the high court? 
All eyes on state capital
Though the Chief Minister had repeatedly been asked this question, he failed to give a reply, Pinarayi said. “The Chief Minister was acting like an autocratic military dictator. He has been trying to get the support of the allies by projecting the agitation as one against the state government. But this has fallen flat”, the CPM leader said. 
Similar agitations like blocking the Secretariat and collectorates had been held in the past, he said, pointing to the Kudumbasree and land agitations which he claimed were a ‘huge success’, contrary to Chandy’s claim.
Achuthanandan had made it clear that he did not join the all-party delegation as he did not want to be included in a team of  `thieves and thugs’ and this was the party’s view too, Pinarayi added.
Police, agitators dot capital 
With around 3,000 armed police and a continuous flow of LDF workers, the stage has been set here for an unprecedented agitation – the indefinite siege of the state secretariat by the LDF demanding the resignation of chief minister Oommen Chandy for his alleged role in the solar scam. 
Though a tense atmosphere prevailed in the city on Sunday morning, the government’s stand that the para-military forces will remain in barracks until any ‘emergency situation’ and the repeated calls of the CPM leadership for a peaceful stir brought down the temperature by afternoon. 
Police deployment began by afternoon with a heavy posse of around 500 cops drawn from various armed police battalions trooping into the Secretariat. By evening the deployment for other points too began making it clear that it will be a heavy police presence on all roads to the Secretariat by Monday morning.
The agitators plan to move towards the Secretariat from the early hours of Monday and reach there by 8 a.m.  

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