Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 12: In one of the biggest protests witnessed by politically hyperactive Kerala, thousands of LDF workers today laid siege of the Government secretariat here as part of their indefinite campaign demanding resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over solar scam.
On the day one, the opposition campaign remained peaceful with Left leaders repeatedly exhorting the cadres not to get provoked and the government refraining from using any force to break the agitation, though security in the city has been tightened.
LDF volunteers, mobilised from all over the state with the CPI(M) and CPI cranking up their organisational machinery, blocked three of the four gates leading to seat of power pressing their demands including a judicial inquiry.
The police, however, took control of the “Cantonment” Gate, through which Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, bureaucrats and employees entered the secretariat complex.
Attendance was poor in the secretariat but those who turned up, including women employees, went inside without facing hassle.
Holiday has been declared for educational institutions in the city till Wednesday and sale of liquor banned.
Giving a boost to the two-month old campaign,national leaders of the Left and allied parties including JD (S) supremo and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI's Sudhakar Reddy besides opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and CPI(M) state secretary Pinaryi Vijayan addressed the protesters.
Chandy and his colleagues, who entered the secretariat quite early in the morning, held a special cabinet meeting to take stock of the situation.
Chandy,later also met Governor Nikhil Kumar,which CMO termed as routine monthly interaction. Police said no incident of violence was reported from any part of the city till evening.
Though a few contingents of central forces had been called in, they were not deployed anywhere in the city where the situation was entirely controlled by the state police. Chandy, who led the Congress-led UDF to victory in 2011, has been facing a grim attack by the LDF since June when the scam broke out.
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 TV channel last night beamed a photograph showing Saritha sharing a platform with him during a function in January last year.
Chandy had persistently refuted the opposition allegation about his collusion in the scam maintaining that LDF was running a politically motivated campaign to topple a democratically elected government.
Despite internal dissensions in Congress in Kerala, the party leaders had yesterday met here and pledged support to Chandy over the issue.
Volunteers from across the state had started pouring in to here since yesterday.
Elaborate arrangements have been made by the district committees of CPI(M) and CPI to provide food and accommodation to the cadres who had come from other districts.
The organisers also opened kitchens in different parts of the city to feed the volunteers.
Many of those who turned up for the protest could not come near the secretariat complex but they held demonstrations in nearby spots in the city.