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Kodiyeri Balakrishnan steps aside as CPI-M secy days after son's arrest

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
November 13, 2020 20:44 IST
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In a major political development in the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist in Kerala ahead of the local body polls, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday stepped aside as secretary, the highest office within the party at the state level, days after his son was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to a drugs case in Bengaluru.

 

While the CPI-M in a statement after the secretariat on Friday maintained that Balakrishnan, who is also a Polit Bureau member, had sought leave for further treatment which had been accepted, the leader of opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala dubbed the move as a delayed dawning of wisdom.

The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should also quit taking cue from Balakrishnan.

The ruling Left Democratic Front has been facing heat following a string of allegations from the Gold Smuggling case, alleged corruption in the Wadakkanchery Life mission project and the questioning and subsequent arrest of Balakrishnan's son, Bineesh by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Central committee member M V Govindan said Balakrishnan had sought leave as he wanted to undergo further treatment and the party secretariat had accepted his plea and granted permission to go on leave.

LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan has been given the charge of state secretary, he said.

Asked how long Balakrishnan would be on leave, Govindan said that would depend on the treatment.

On queries relating to Bineesh's arrest, the veteran leader said Balakrishnan has already spoken about matters relating to his son and that will not affect the party in any way.

67-year-old Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a five time MLA from Thalassery in Kannur district, was first appointed as party secretary on February23, 2015 for three years and subsequently a second term in 2018.

He has also served as Home and Tourism minister in the V S Achuthanandan ministry.

For the LDF, the development comes at a most inopportune time as the three-phased local body polls are commencing from December 8 and hectic preparations are on to garner maximum number of seats in the polls, seen as a litmus test ahead of the assembly
elections next year.

Balarkrishnan, considered the second most strong man in the party after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time.

Though he has gone on treatment earlier also, this is the first time that Balakrishnan has decided to step aside as secretary.

In an embarrassment to the Left party, the ED in Bengaluru had arrested Bineesh, Balakrishnan's younger son, on October 29 in a money
laundering case linked to a drug seizure in Karnataka.

The central agency had alleged that Bineesh had close connection with drug peddler Mohammed Anoop arrested by them and the hotel, Anoop was operating in Bengaluru, was Bineesh's Benami property.

The probe agency had also charged Bineesh with transferring huge amounts of money into Anoop's bank account.

Since Bineesh was taken into custody by the central agency, opposition parties have been up in arms clamouring for Balakrishnan's resignation.

Kanam Rajendran, Secretary of Communist Party of India, a major ally of the LDF, refused to comment on the matter, saying it was the internal issue of the Marxist party.

Congress leaders, Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy said the decision should have been taken much earlier.

"Even though it was too late, the decision was apt," Chandy, who is also former chief minister, said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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