In a massive show of strength, thousands of LDF volunteers converged around the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday morning as part of their indefinite campaign to demand resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in connection with the solar panel scam.
While the protesters blocked three gates of the secretariat, police managed to keep one gate open, through which Chandy and his cabinet colleagues entered the complex early in the morning.
Though a few contingents of central paramilitary forces have already been brought to the city, they are kept as reserve and police were deployed in full strength for security of the seat of power.
Chandy, who came to power in May 2011 after leading the Congress-led UDF to victory in the assembly polls, had yesterday said force would not be used to suppress the agitation if it was carried out peacefully but would be compelled to act sternly if violence erupted.
Spurning the olive branch held out by Chandy, LDF leaders rejected the offer of talks, asserting there was no compromise on the demand for his resignation.
Rocking the state for some two months, the solar scam has brought Chandy under a cloud, especially after the arrest of a personal assistant in his office for his alleged links with the accused.
The scam pertains to financial cheating of several people by the accused Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha Nair, both under arrest, by offering clients solar energy solutions. The accused allegedly flaunted their clout with the CM's office for duping unsuspecting clients of huge sums.
Meanwhile, causing further embarrassment to Chandy, a local television channel last night beamed a photograph showing Saritha sharing a platform with him during a function in January last year.