Kerala CPI-M in tatters; future of Vijayan, Kodiyeri hangs in balance

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 3 (IANS) | Publish Date: 11/3/2020 12:50:39 PM IST

Things are getting difficult for the CPI-M in Kerala, which is the Left party’s last bastion in the country.

With allegations coming thick and fast, murmurs have begun over the future of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the powerful state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, both of them presently caught in a maze of issues, making it difficult for them to face the combined encore of the Congress and the BJP, which for a while have been demanding that both these top CPI-M leaders take the exit route.
Vijayan slamming various central agencies on Monday, which are working hard in the gold smuggling, Life Mission and a few other cases, have been picked up by various media houses, indicating that things are getting more and more difficult for the Chief Minister.
When Vijayan was slowly getting over the shock of the arrest of his once closest aide and top IAS officer M. Sivasankar for his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case, the word that has gone around is that it would become untenable for him if the probe agency picks up one of his staff members, whose name has surfaced in the media on Tuesday. Likewise, for Balakrishnan, his younger son has over the years become a headache, not just for him, but also for the party.
Bineesh Kodiyeri has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the latest reports say that it wouldn’t end with just the ED, as his close aide Anoop Mohammed is in the custody of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for a few weeks and it wouldn’t be long before the NCB picks him up too. What came as a shock for the CPI-M is the open statement by 91-year old M.M. Lawerence, a former stalwart of the party, in which he lashed out at the way Bineesh has been conducting himself.
Even though the party leaders at the recent two-day meeting of the CPI-M put up a brave face and pledged their support to both Vijayan and Balakrishnan, it remains to be seen if this support remains intact even if a staff member from Vijayan’s office is picked up and if the NCB takes Bineesh into their custody.
The CPI-M knows that with two polls around the corner -- local body elections in December and Assembly elections in May 2021 -- if these allegations and the probe do not subside quickly, things will be pretty bad for the ‘red party’ and the only way out will be to look for a change in leadership. The CPI-M certainly knows that if it happens, it would do more harm than good, as it could well be accepting the hard facts on the damning evidences that have started coming thick and fast from the various probe agencies. The party may be forced to seriously look at giving an honourable exit to the two senior leaders, as both of them do have health issues and have finished a few rounds of treatment in the US.
Speculation is rife that if things do not cool down, both Vijayan and Balakrishnan would be given ‘leave’, so that they could take care of their health, while a new leadership takes care of the deteriorating ‘health’ of the red party.

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