Protests in poll-bound Kerala injure 48 | Reuters

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India Forty-eight people were injured on Friday in Kerala in rioting by left-wing protesters who accuse the state's Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of corruption.

Youths hurled bottles and stones at police in several parts of the state and called for the resignation of Chandy, a Congress party leader who is seeking re-election in a state election in April.

Chandy, fighting allegations that his office was involved in a solar-power scam, denies any wrongdoing.

He faces an electoral challenge from opposition communists, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is a marginal force in the state on India's southwestern seaboard that is popular with foreign tourists.

Among the injured were 31 police and 17 activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, a wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that is seeking to oust Chandy. Police used baton charges and teargas to disperse protesters.

The protests disrupted traffic for four hours in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, and spread from the northern city of Calicut to the tourist destination of Alleppey in the south.

State-wide protests were sparked after a court on Thursday ruled that a police complaint must be filed against Chandy over allegations he took a 19-million-rupee ($280,000) bribe to provide government support to a solar panel company.

The state high court stayed that order on Friday afternoon.

The accusations against Chandy were brought by the owner of the solar panel business, who herself faces allegations of duping victims into investing in fake solar projects.

(Reporting by Jose Devasia; Writing by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Douglas Busvine, Robert Birsel)

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Updated Date: Jan 29, 2016 11:03:25 IST

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