Kerala Transports Minister Thomas Chandy, the only NCP minister in entire India, has expressed willingness to resign from the State Cabinet as his position has become extremely untenable following serious allegations of encroaching public land and lake, land-filling paddy fields and wetlands in violation of laws and rules and carrying out construction for own business purposes by misusing public funds.
Chandy, the richest Minister in the LDF Government, has run out of options also because of the stiff demand raised by the CPI, second biggest partner in the ruling front, for his resignation or expulsion.
The state government had sought the legal opinion of the AG on the matter after getting the report from District Collector T V Anupama.
The Marthandam backwaters near the luxury hotel in Alappuzha had been allegedly reclaimed for a parking area and a road had been constructed through the paddy field to the resort, violating norms.
Besides, the NCP has also not discussed the matter as there was no need to discuss a "non-issue", he told reporters.
The NCP leadership, which is expected to meet at Kochi on Tuesday, was asked to inform about its decision to Mr Vijayan in this regard after its parleys, the LDF leader said.
16 drown, 7 missing as boat capsizes in Krishna river
According to PTI , the police said that over 17 others are feared dead, but their bodies are yet to be recovered. The passengers were travelling to Pavitra Sangamam to see a daily ritual when the boat lost its balance.
An understanding among the constituents of the LDF was that sacking of the minister from his post could badly affect the images of the NCP, hence it was left for the NCP to take a decision on the Minister's resignation, sources added.
Shortly before the meeting, state NCP leaders, including TP Peethambaran Master, AK Saseendran and Mr Chandy, met here reportedly to discuss the stand to be taken at the LDF meet.
According to the sources, the AG has observed that since the collector's report has been challenged by Chandy, it was up to the state government whether to wait for the court's verdict or take a decision on the report before that.
BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan and O Rajagopal MLA have submitted a complaint to the Kerala Governor seeking the disqualification of transport minister Thomas Chandy.
Challenging the collector's report, Mr Chandy had last week moved the Kerala High Court, contending that the collector conducted an unfair inquiry into the "wild and baseless" allegations against his company, Water World Tourism.