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Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy Resigns Over Land Grab Row

On Tuesday, the Alappuzha district collector confirmed the allegations of land encroachment and violation of Kerala conservation of paddy land against Thomas Chandy .

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:November 15, 2017, 11:24 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Transport minister Thomas Chandy resigned on Wednesday. This came after the Alappuzha district collector on Tuesday confirmed the allegations of land encroachment and violation of Kerala conservation of paddy land.

T P Peethambaran, the NCP state president, and Chandy met chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in an interaction that lasted 45 minutes. Sources said that though NCP sought time until afternoon, Vijayan, keeping in mind the situation, said that it was appropriate for sitting transport minister to resign.

Earlier in the day, CPI, a key constituent of the ruling LDF in Kerala, boycotted the cabinet meeting where embattled transport minister Thomas Chandy is also likely to be present.

Chandy, in his resignation, addressed to the Kerala chief minister, rued that he had to "step down without committing any offence". He said that allegations against him were "false, furthered by a particular section of media".

The former minister said that there was a misconception in this regard among the masses. "In this scenario, to protect the image of Left Democratic Front, which has been functioning well, I have taken this decision after discussing with NCP national leadership," he wrote.

Meanwhile, T P Peethambaran said that the party had decided Chandy resign, not because he did anything wrong but because the high court's criticism was bringing a bad name to the Vijayan government.

Chandy is the third minister, in the last two years, to have resigned from the Vijayan-led government.

Chandy’s party, the NCP, said the minister will stay out of the cabinet temporarily and if he receives a positive order from Supreme Court he has to be given back the portfolio. CPI wanted immediate resignation of Chandy.

The Kerala high court on Tuesday, listening to Chandy's petition seeking a positive order, gave him a rap on the knuckles, asking if he would consider withdrawing his plea.

The court emphasised that minister's petition challenging the district collector's report cannot be accepted. The court asked, "How can a minister file a petition against the government?" The petition should have been filed by the chief secretary, it said.

| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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