Will resign if CM asks me to step down: Chandy

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In a setback to the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by state Transport Minister Thomas Chandy for quashing the Alappuzha district collector's report which alleged large-scale land grab by him to build a plush resort.

"We will take appropriate decision at the right time, after considering the High Court's observation and NCP meeting".

Ever since the allegation of land grab surfaced three months back, the Congress-led opposition, the BJP and even the second biggest ally of the Vijayan government - the Communist Party of India - had been demanding the resignation of Chandy.

Chandy claimed that the Supreme Court has held that there is no connection between the observations being made in an open court and a signed verdict.

"If the CM asks me to resign, I will follow his instruction". The state government also faced the court's wrath, with the bench questioning the lack of action on the part of the government on the district collector's report and said the government is trying to place it on the court's shoulders.

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Although Chandy, who holds the transport portfolio, submitted that he had quit the membership from the company's director board when he assumed charge as minister, the court said it has no idea about his position in the firm.

"The Left Democratic Front has entrusted Vijayan to take the appropriate decision", said State CPI secretary Kanam Rajendran.

He was reacting to queries on the Kerala High Courts order today, dismissing his petition challenging the collectors report on alleged encroachments by a company in which he has a stake. Despite the state Congress' attempts to stall Tankha through AICC intervention, he appeared for Chandy on Tuesday, after facing a protest by Youth Congress workers.

The opposition Congress' agitation against Chandy lost some steam after its own Rajya Sabha MP and lawyer Vivek Tankha appeared for the minister in the high court.

The state leadership of the Congress has expressed their strong resentment to the party high command.