The CPI (M) state secretariat meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday to discuss charges of usurping government land against state Transport Minister Thomas Chandy and suitable action against him turned out to be a damp squib, as it decided to wait for legal opinion.
There was speculation that the secretariat, which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is also part of, might consider sending out a clear signal that Chandy's continuance as a minister would be difficult, as the report of the district authorities clearly says that Chandy's plush resort in the backwaters of Alappuzha violates the norms.
Even though another CPI (M) meeting was scheduled to take place later in the day, the Chandy issue was unlikely to be raised there as Vijayan would not be present. He is leaving for Madurai to attend a party meeting there.
According to a party source, in the secretariat meeting the Chandy issue was only taken up briefly and it was decided to await legal opinion sought in the matter. Besides, with the Left Democratic Front liaison committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the issue would again be discussed there and legal opinion sought.
Ahead of Monday's meeting, details of the report prepared by Alappuzha District Collector TV Anupama surfaced in the media, which suggested that the allegations of violations by Chandy's resort were true.
While Vijayan continues to have a soft corner for Chandy, the CPI is in an aggressive mood as state Revenue Minister E Chandrasekheran and his party's state secretary Kanam Rajendran feel that the image of the Left government has taken a severe beating on this issue and therefore, appropriate action should be taken.
But Vijayan and the CPI (M) would prefer to buy time until November 9 when the Kerala Assembly is having a special one-day sitting to table the Solar Judicial Commission probe report that indicts former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and several senior leaders of the Congress party.
Vijayan feels that once the report is tabled, the media will go after the "spicy" solar scam report running into over 1,700 pages.
The scam probe report talks about the manner in which Saritha S Nair and her then live-in partner started a business that involved setting up solar panels and later alleged that she was sexually exploited by these Congress leaders.
Vijayan and the CPI (M) expect that using the solar report, the allegations against the minister can be deflected by keeping the Congress-led opposition silent.