Kerala transport minister Thomas Chandy resigned on Wednesday. The minister was facing allegations of land encroachment. Thomas Chandy submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan through NCP leader TP Peethamabaran. Addressing the media, Peethamabaran said the resignation letter had been handed over. “All the details will be told to you at 2PM.” Sources close to Chandy said he will approach the Supreme Court on Thursday and it has been decided that the slot meant for the Nationalist Congress Party in the cabinet will be left vacant.

“Chandy’s resignation letter has been forwarded to the Governor,” Vijayan said while leaving his office. Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The NCP leaders and the minister have asked for more time to discuss the issue with national leadership. I cannot decline their request. They will inform me the decision after the meeting.” After the allegation of land grabbing against the minister surfaced three months back, the Congress-led opposition and  BJP had been demanding the resignation of Thomas Chandy.

Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed Chandy’s petition against the District Collector’s report in Lake Palace Resort row and said that the minister should step down before approaching the court. Vijayan said the issue of Chandy’s resignation did not come up in the Cabinet meeting. “I was entrusted with the decision on Chandy’s resignation and also there was a case in the court. Now that the court has made its decision yesterday (Tuesday), Chandy and his party leader T.P. Peetambharan met me in the morning. They said they need to discuss the issue with their party national leadership,” Vijayan told reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Kerala CM further added that “In a political front, we have to give respect to each party. They said they will get back to me after they speak to their national leadership. The question here is not rich or otherwise. Let us wait for them to come back. Now that the court has come out with theirs (decision), some scrutiny has to take place and let us not speculate on Chandy,” he said and pointed out that Chandy took part in the Cabinet meeting as he is a minister.”

Vijayan also expressed his disappointment over four CPI state ministers boycotting the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran (CPI) gave a note before the Cabinet meeting on this. Generally, Cabinet is the place where issues are discussed and it’s not right for ministers to boycott the Cabinet meeting,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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