Embroiled in scam allegations, CPM Kerala withdraws from TV channel debates

Embroiled in scam allegations, CPM Kerala withdraws from TV channel debates
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
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Thiruvananthapuram: With the Kerala government facing the heat of the probes by numerous central agencies in the gold smuggling case and Life Mission Project, the CPM, which heads the ruling Left Democratic Front, has withdrawn from TV news debates.

As a result, anchors of prime time debates on various channels on Sunday night said no CPM leader would be present. Their place was taken by party sympathisers, who found it hard to counter the allegations levelled by representatives of the Congress and the BJP.

Even after the CPM secretariat meeting on Saturday when party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan blamed the corporatisation of the media for its attack on the party, the government and party leaders said the party is prepared for a discussion with the media.

However, matters seem to have changed after news surfaced on Sunday that Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in both cases, had, in her statement to the Enforcement Directorate, claimed that she had met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at his official residence and it was he who had introduced her to senior IAS officer M Sivasankar when the top UAE Consulate official had come calling.

Congress leader K Babu said that this is poetic justice at its best. He said that when in 2015-16, then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was embroiled in the infamous solar scam, it was the very same CPM leaders then went hammer and tongs against him.

On Monday, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, while inaugurating a statewide protest to demand Pinarayi's resignation, recalled an old statement of the chief minister that that the entire CCTV system at his official residence has been damaged by lightning.

Embroiled in scam allegations, CPM Kerala withdraws from TV channel debates
Representative image

"You should all remember that it was an off-the-cuff statement and came without no one asking him. Now we all know that he made this statement because he knew he would be caught as the epicentre of all the corrupt deals was his residence and Swapna was there," he alleged.

On the CPM's decision to stay away from TV debates, he said: "It is surprising that the CPM has pulled out from all TV debates with effect from last night. They first boycotted Asianet TV and now all channels. All know that they took this decision as it has become increasingly difficult for them to justify the wrong deeds that has taken place under Pinarayi and hence, the best decision is to keep away."

"Did we ever hear any CPM leader say what the TV channels were discussing the solar scam over and over again and it was an overdose. The intolerance of the CPM is worth mentioning, as they can accuse anyone of anything, but no one should say anything about them. What they did then is coming back heavily on them now," a Congress leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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