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LDF siege today, Chandy for peace

Statesman News Service |

Govt will act tough if situation worsens, says Kerala CM
press trust of india
Thiruvananthapuram, 11 August
With the CPIM-led LDF in Kerala moving ahead with its plan to lay siege to the state Secretariat from tomorrow over the solar scam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today appealed to the Opposition to carry out the stir peacefully.
At the same time, he warned that the government would be compelled to act tough if the situation slipped out of hand.
Protesters from across the state started trickling in to the city since this morning with the LDF planning to mobilise about one lakh volunteers even as the government supplemented the state police with nearly 2,000 central para military personnel, who are kept as reserve.
Making a last-minute plea, Mr Chandy said the government would not come in the way of anybody’s democratic right to stage peaceful protests but it was duty-bound to maintain rule of law.
Spurning the olive branch held out by Mr Chandy, LDF leaders rejected the offer of talks asserting there was no compromise on the demand for his resignation.
National leaders of the Left and allied parties including JDS supremo and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda besides Prakash Karat (CPI-M) and Sudhakar Reddy (CPI) will address the protesters.
LDF’s plan is to paralyse the functioning of the seat of power by blocking all the four gates of the secretariat complex.
Police, however, is keen on keeping at least one gate of the secretariat unaffected so that ministers, bureaucrats and employees could go in and come out of the complex.
An emergency meeting of KPCC office bearers, held here to take stock of the situation, rallied behind Mr Chandy dubbing the LDF stir as a ruse to topple an elected government through undemocratic means.
“This is an utterly undemocratic and deplorable move to topple the government. Congress and UDF allies will thwart such attempts,” KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala told reporters.
However, reflecting the differences within Congress about the manner in which the agitation was being dealt with, former KPCC president K Muraleedharan said the government’s preparations had actually imparted greater publicity to the LDF campaign, which would have fizzled out in due course.
Unfazed by elaborate arrangements by the state government to deal with the stir, the Left volunteers from all the 14 districts in the state have set off to converge in Thiruvanathapuram, capital, at least by the wee hours tomorrow.