Kodiyeri goes on leave for treatment

A. Vijayaraghavan will officiate as party State secretary

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has gone on a leave of absence for treatment purposes.

A press release issued by the CPI(M) State secretariat here on Friday said Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener A. Vijayaraghavan would officiate as party State secretary in Mr. Balakrishnan’s stead.

No date for return

The CPI(M) has not set any date for Mr. Balakrishnan’s return to the post, triggering speculation that his going on leave presaged a "rectification campaign" in the party in the run-up to the local body and State Assembly elections.

However, Mr. Vijayaraghavan denied the notion and termed it an unfounded rumour floated by persons with a jaundiced view of issues. There was not much to read into the temporary organisational arrangement, he said.

Oppn. charge

Nevertheless, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spared no effort to link Mr. Balakrishnan’s "exit" to the arrest and incarceration of his son Bineesh Kodiyeri on drug trafficking-related money laundering charges by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Bengaluru in August.

The leaders of both parties also appeared to suggest that Mr. Balakrishnan had come under pressure from within the CPI(M) to "stepdown" and his "departure" had vindicated their stance.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it had belatedly dawned on the CPI(M) that the case against Bineesh had become an overbearing liability for the rank and file members. Many had shied away from meeting voters.

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran said the CPI(M) faced the same predicament in Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The ED had arrested his former Principal Secretary M. Sivasankar on money laundering charges. It had summoned his additional private secretary C.M. Raveendran for questioning. Mr. Vijayan should emulate Mr. Balakrishnan and quit, Mr. Ramachandran said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Kanam Rajendran said Mr. Balakrishnan going on leave for treatment was an internal affair of the CPI(M) and a personal necessity.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said Mr. Balakrishnan had no recourse but to resign following the arrest of Bineesh.

In a FB post, Mr. Muraleedharan said "even children in Kerala knew the truth" however hard the CPI(M) tried to obfuscate the facts. He said if political propriety was the yardstick of Mr. Balakrishnan’s departure, then Mr. Vijayan should follow suit.

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