Kerala CPI (M) secretary relinquishes post in the wake of arrest of son in money laundering case

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A press release issued by the CPM State secretariat said Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor, A. Vijayaraghavan, would officiate as party State secretary in Balakrishnan's place.

 

Amid the mounting opposition offensive against the party and its government over various scandals, Kerala state secretary of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has relinquished the post.

Though the party claimed that Balakrishnan has taken leave for treatment purposes, it is widely seen in political circles as a result of the arrest of his son Bineesh Kodiyei in connection with the drug trafficking related money laundering case.

Bineesh, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last month, is lodged in the Parappana Agarahara central jail in Bengaluru. Balakrishnan’s decision to go on leave came following reports that Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will soon implicate him in the drug trafficking case.

This is the second time Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is taking leave for treatment. He was under pressure to resign earlier when his eldest son Benoy Kodiyeri was booked by the UAE authorities in connection with a cheating case. However, the demand for Balakrishnan’s resignation subsided after the case was settled out of court by paying the money.

The CPI (M) has not set any date for Balakrishnan's return to the helm of the party's State unit. A party release said that Left Democratic Front convenor A Vijayaraghavan would officiate as party secretary in place of Balakrishnan.

Party central committee member M.V. Govindan said Balakrishnan's decision to go on leave had nothing to do with the arrest and incarceration of his son in the case as insinuated by rival quarters.

Balakrishnan had sought the consent of the CPM State secretariat to go on leave temporarily for treatment. He said the arrest of Bineesh was a personal matter and not a political issue concerning the CPI (M).

The change at the helm comes at a time when the party faced strong political headwinds and an energised opposition in the run-up to the local body polls in December.

The scandals centred round the UAE gold smuggling case and the arrests of Bineesh and M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, have put the party and the government in highly embarrassing position. The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been demanding the resignation of Vijayan and Balakrishnan.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala claimed Balakrishnan's decision to go on leave came after the party found it difficult to face the electorate or campaign for the LDF in the local body elections, which is considered as a semi-final before the assembly elections early next year.

The senior Congress leader said that the CPI (M) had sensed party workers were on the verge of mutiny and hence 'removed' the party secretary. It might be the turn of the Chief Minister next",  Chennithala said.

Image Credit: Gulf News

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