Thiruvananthapuram: Welcoming the decision of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan to step down as CPM state secretary, the Congress on Friday said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should have resigned first.
Earlier in the day, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan went on leave for further medical treatment triggering a slew of speculations. Left Democratic Front convenor A Vijayaraghavan has been given charge of the CPM state secretary. Though the party has officially put out that Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has been granted "holiday" for further treatment, the CPM will find it hard to put down the impression that it was Bineesh Kodiyeri's involvement in a money laundering case related to drug peddling that has forced Kodiyeri to vacate the top post in the party.
Speaking to the media, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said never in the history of the CPM have they been in such a position where the chief minister's office is caught in various cases, including gold smuggling and other scams including the drug case against Bineesh.
"How long have we been demanding that both Balakrishnan and Vijayan quit. Balakrishnan saying he needs leave for medical treatment is a bluff as he never sought leave when he went for treatment to the US. Vijayan's turn has now come and it's better he also quits immediately. Otherwise he will have to bow out in shame," said Chennithala.
Two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that Balakrishnan could have quit much before and had he done that, the image would not have been this sullied.
"People by now have realised that all what has come up is not mere allegations, but a reality," said Chandy.
Though Balakrishnan and Vijayan hail from Kannur and have had the best of relations, things soured after Bineesh ran into trouble and Balakrishnan was apparently peeved with Vijayan for failing to come to his aid.
But with Balakrishnan bowing out, all eyes are on Vijayan, as he too has medical problems and was in the US for treatment and many see Balakrishnan has played a fast one and did it to put pressure on Vijayan whose former secretary M Sivasankar is in jail and additional private secretary C M Ravindran expected to appear before ED, once he turns COVID negative.
Meanwhile, Kanam Rajendran, Secretary of CPI, a major ally of the LDF, refused to comment on the matter, saying it was the internal issue of the Marxist party.
BJP demands CM's resignation
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said Vijayan should have stepped down even before Balakrishnan.
"Does political decency apply only to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in the CPM," he asked.
Muraleedharan said Balakrishnan resigned as he had no other choice.