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Communists withdrew protests against Congress govt in Kerala after a journalist ‘brokered’ deal. The journalist then became an MP. Read about ‘solar scam’ of 2013

The alleged mediation by media personalities shows that the role of media as power brokers is a possibility and they are not merely neutral observers.

Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the political landscape in Kerala has been on the boil by the new revelations made about the 2013 solar scandal. The allegations laid down by senior journalist John Mundakayam suggest that a behind-the-scene deal was made between CPI(M) and the then-Congress-led government to end the siege over the scandal.

The controversy started after Mundakayam disclosed that he and Kairali TV’s managing director John Brittas posed as mediators in brokering a deal between Congress and CPI(M). He alleged that Brittas, who later became CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP, approached him to communicate CPI(M)’s willingness to end the siege of the state secretariat if the then-Congress-led government announced a judicial probe into the solar scandal.

On 11th August 2013, CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) demanded the resignation of then-Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. They also demanded a judicial investigation into the scandal. However, the protests were called off abruptly within two days after the government initiated a judicial probe.

The revelations about the details were made in an article where Mundakayam stated that Brittas requested him to forward CPI(M)’s terms to Chandy and then-Home Minister of Kerala, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. Chandy later agreed to the demands and the agitation came to an end. Mundakayam further alleged that several senior leaders of CPI(M) including Thomas Issac were not informed about the negotiations.

Responding to the allegations, Brittas admitted there was some truth to the claims made by Mundakayam but maintained that it was Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan who initiated the discussions, not the other way around. He also called the involvement of journalists in the deal between CPI(M) and Congress a figment of the imagination of Mundakayam. He said, “It was not the CPI(M) but the Congress which wanted to end the agitation. The agitation was withdrawn after the government acceded to CPI(M) demands.” He said that the contact was made via Cherian Philip, who was with CPI(M) at that time. Later, Philip shifted to the Congress party.

Philip said, “Brittas and I met Thiruvanchoor, then Home Minister, in his office. Brittas joined the discussion at my behest. Both the CPI(M) and the Congress wanted to end the agitation, no matter who had taken the initiative for it. The intervention was meant to avert a tragedy.”

Reacting to the revelation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Surendran said, “The CPI(M) withdrew the agitation after settling the murder case of party rebel and RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan (who was killed in 2012).”

The CPI(M)-Congress nexus and media complicity

The current revelations made by Mundakayam reignited discussions about the political nexus between Congress and CPI(M) in Kerala. The involvement of senior leaders, journalists getting Rajya Sabha seats, and the end of 2013 agitation within two days exemplifies that there is a deep-rooted connection between political parties and media in the state.

It raises a broader issue of media complicity in political machination. Not to forget, the Malayala Manorama group, which Mundakayam was associated with, has had a significant influence on Kerala’s political narrative. The alleged mediation by media personalities shows that the role of media as power brokers is a possibility and they are not merely neutral observers.

The solar scandal itself highlighted systemic corruption. In 2013, Solar Scandal involved a fraudulent scheme by Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan, who duped investors by promising high returns from solar energy projects. It led to widespread protests and demands for accountability from the then-ruling party, that is Congress.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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