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Solar Scam continues to drown Kerala assembly

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Thiruvananthapuram: Ongoing ‘solar scan’ continued to cause chaos in the Kerala assembly following the argument between the Oommen Chandy government and the opposition.

Like on Thursday, when the assembly had to be adjourned following the opposition protests and demand for the resignation of Chief Minister Chandy on the charge of his involvement in the scam, acrimony between the two sides forced another adjournment soon after the question hour.

The trouble started when the treasury benches responded to the opposition raising the solar scam issue by referring to another scandal, of the year 2000 vintage, to embarrass the government.

The Leader of Opposition VS Achuthanandan of the CPI-M broached the solar scam through a submission when he asked Labour Minister Shibu Baby John to clarify a remark he had made on Thursday.

“Yesterday you (John) said that there is a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the way the prime accused in the scam, Biju Radhakrishnan, deposed before the judicial probe commission. At one point of time, you almost disclosed the name, but at the last second, two of your cabinet colleagues refrained you from revealing. So, today we wish to know who are behind this,” said Achuthanandan.

John then got up and said that at the appropriate time he would let everyone know who was behind this.

“It’s for this, I said yesterday that I am also going to implead before the Commission because this has to come out. But before that, I request Achuthanandan to reveal the VIP involved in the Killiroor sex scandal,” hit back John.

The Killiroor sex case saw a young teenage girl being sexually assaulted in early 2000. She later died in mysterious circumstances. Just before the 2006 assembly elections, Achuthanandan said there was a VIP behind the case and if he came to power he would take them to the task.

He did nothing even after becoming the Chief Minister.

John’s reference to Killiroor sex scandal had the entire opposition up in arms and they trooped into the well of the house, forcing Speaker N. Sakthan eventually to adjourn the proceedings for the day.

It was on Wednesday that Radhakrishnan told the commission that he had video evidence of Chandy and two of his cabinet colleagues in compromising positions with Saritha Nair.

Saritha Nair is the second accused and live-in partner of Radhakrishnan’s.

The solar scam came to light in 2013 when it was found that Team Solar, a fraudulent company, cheated several influential people of crores of rupees by offering to make them business partners or by offering to install solar power units for them and receiving advance payments for the same.

The company used two women to create political contacts with links even to the Chief Minister’s office.

Radhakrishnan, the main accused, and his live-in partner Saritha Nair were later arrested for cheating investors.

She is out on bail while Radhakrishnan is behind bars after it was proved that he murdered his first wife.(IANS)

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Is UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath losing his shine?

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback -- under pressure -- in privatisation of the power sector in five cities

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Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath. IANS

Is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — in power for just over a year — fast losing his lustre?

Many here feel so.

A litany of complaints about his public conduct, his behaviour with colleagues as well as common people is fast eroding the aura he had built up as the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur who was catapulted to the Chief Minister’s office of a socially diverse and politically volatile state of 220 million people.

Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.
Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.

Last week, 24-year-old Ayush Bansal shocked many when he broke down in front of media in Gorakhpur and disclosed how the monk-turned-Chief Minister mocked him during a “junta darbaar” where he had gone to complain about a land-grab case in which independent legislator from Nautanwa, Amanmani Tripathi, was involved.

He also accused the Chief Minister of calling him “awaraa” (wayward) and pushing him while throwing his file in the air. “Maharaj ji angrily snapped at me and said my work will never be done and that I should get out of his sight,” Bansal told IANS.

While officials got down to damage control and said the matter was being looked into, the fact that Adityanath behaved in a manner unbecoming of a Chief Minister was neither contradicted by officials nor denied by the ruling party.

Barely had the din over this episode died down when two MPs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained of similar behaviour. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP from Robertsganj Chhote Lal Kharwar, accused Adityanath of “scolding him and asking him to get out”. The MP said he was deeply pained at the behavior of the Chief Minister as he tried to draw his attention to issues faced by the party faithful.

Ayodhya
In the picture, Yogi Adityanath addressing a rally at Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

“Never did the local administration listen to my plaints and when I went to meet the Chief Minister twice over many issues, ‘unhone mujhe daantkar bhaga diya’ (he scolded me and chased me away),” the lawmaker said in his letter.

The BJP leader has also shot off a letter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, seeking help. Lal also says that definite proof of wrong-doing and corruption presented by him went unheard and unaddressed. What is surprising is that all this happened to a man who is the state president of the BJP’s SC/ST Morcha.

While Modi is learnt to have assured Lal of action, there are other similar murmurs about Adityanath’s rough behaviour. Etawah MP Ashok Dohre has also written to Modi accusing the state police of lodging fake cases against SCs and STs during the Bharat Bandh. When asked why he did not petition the Chief Minister, Dohre said he considered Modi his leader, and thus petitioned him.

Also Read: Little Known Facts About U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Alarmed by the sudden “unease” among the party’s lawmakers, Amit Shah summoned Yogi to New Delhi over the weekend and is learnt to have asked him to mend his ways. Adityanth also met Modi. Interestingly, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who party insiders admit doesn’t see eye to eye with Yogi, was also called to Delhi at the same time.

Ironically, till not long ago, the 45-year-old Chief Minister was being venerated by the party faithful as a man next only to Modi. Insiders, however, now admit that not only has Adityanath failed to show his “pakad” (hold) on the party, but is also “awkwardly arrogant in his public conduct”, and not very able in his administration.

“He may be a busy man, so have been his predecessors… he remains inaccessible and uses foul and unacceptable language at times,” conceded a senior minister who did not wish to be named. Though stopping short of calling the Chief Minister arrogant, he suggested that “Yogi-ji is better advised to be more courteous and improve his time management”.

A senior party functionary too noted “the changing ways of Maharaj-ji”, though he felt “mood swings and the tongue-lashings could be because he has to handle a big state like Uttar Pradesh”.

Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath is losing his shine. (IANS)

A senior bureaucrat also alleged that the Chief Minister often “goes off the handle” and could be very acerbic in his dealing with officials. The Chief Minister’s loyalists, however, point out that he does not like people to hang around him and wants officials to deliver fast and work within the system that has been set up. When there is any breach, he loses his temper, a close aide told IANS.

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback — under pressure — in privatisation of the power sector in five cities; the poor showing in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-polls and reports that he and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, don’t get along well have already rung alarm bells in the establishment, sources said. IANS