Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM and CPI are preparing for the meetings of their respective leadership amid the gold smuggling case, controversies related to it and central investigations that have put the LDF and the government in a spot.
The CPI executive committee will meet on September 23-24. The meeting assumes significance as it will decide on the party’s stance towards the entry of the Kerala Congress (M) into the LDF.
The CPM state secretariat will be held on September 25, while its state committee will meet the next day, on September 26. The AKG Hall will be the venue for the state committee for the first time.
This will be a physical meeting unlike the earlier two that were held online due to the COVID restrictions. But, from September 21, the new central guidelines will come into force that allow meetings of up to 100 people. The state committee has fewer members than that. Seating arrangements in the AKG Hall, which has the capacity to accommodate 1,300 people, will be done to maintain social distancing.
The CPM state secretariat has been offering its full support to the government, which has found itself in many controversies, ranging from the allegations against the chief minister's office to the questioning of higher education minister K T Jaleel by the Enforcement Directorate, in the wake of the gold smuggling racket that was busted on July 5.
However, the constant allegations have caused concern and resentment at the grassroots level. All eyes will be on the state committee to see if this gets reflected in the meeting on September 26.
Meanwhile, amid the allegations against his son in the gold smuggling case, minister E P Jayarajan has denied reports that he will be approaching the party with a complaint that CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and his son Bineesh are behind it.
Jayarajan clarified that the news that personal and organisational problems had arisen between him and Kodiyeri was baseless and that there was no such problem before the party. Kodiyeri also said that Jayarajan himself had denied the news reports.
However, people close to Jayarajan say that he has been protesting against what he considers are some moves against him within the party. His complaint is that these moves have been there since the controversy over the appointment of his relatives in key posts in public sector units that led to his resignation as industries minister in 2016.
Jayarajan told the chief minister and the party that his son had sought the help of Swapna Suresh while she was an official of the UAE consulate after he lost his passport and that he had no other dealings with her. He also explained that his son had no connection in the Life Mission project transactions.
Investigations agencies looking into the gold smuggling case and hawala transactions related to the racket believe that Jayarajan's son was among those who had shared the over Rs 4-crore commission received for the Life Mission project in Thrissur's Wadakkanchery. The agencies are said to be in possession of photos showing him and Swapna Suresh, one of the key accused in the gold smuggling case, with another person in a hotel room.
The party is concerned about the possibility of Jayarajan’s son being questioned by investigating agencies in the wake of these revelations. Kodiyeri, whose son Bineesh has been questioned by the Enforcement directorate, holds only a party post. But that is not the case with Jayarajan; he is a minister.
The CPI is upset with the bad publicity the government and the Front is getting due to the controversies. However, if it publicly airs its protest, it fears that it will be criticised for abandoning the government during a crisis and giving the Opposition a weapon to attack it.
It also does not want to take the risk of leaving the LDF and going alone when the local body and Assembly elections are just round the corner. However, it is not necessary that such temperance will be witnessed during its intra-party discussions.