Trouble in Kerala Left front as CPM, CPI clash

The CPM and CPI, leading coalition partners of Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF),  have locked horns over a recent report by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Kerala Police which cleared Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of charges.

The fact that state secretaries of both parties are engaged in a war of words on the issue at a time when internal elections are progressing in the two outfits has increased the seriousness of the clash.

Commenting on the issue, CPI Kerala state secretary C K Chandrappan said on Sunday that Chandy should thank CPM politburo member and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on the issue. When the Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court ordered in 2010 that Oommen Chandy should be included in the ambit of investigations in palmolein import corruption case, Balakrishnan had said that Chandy need to divest the vigilance portfolio. Instead, Balakrishnan should have demanded Chandy’s resignation and the statement of the CPM leader in fact allowed the chief minister to continue in his position, said Chandrappan.

Palmolein case

The palmolein case followed the decision of the United Democratic Front (UDF) government headed by K Karunakaran in 1991-92 to import palmolein. Chandy was the finance minister of Kerala then. The opposition had accused that there was corruption in the deal and subsequently a case was filed against Karunakaran. The case is still dragging on. Chandrappan further said Balakrishnan had made the statement hastily knowing well that LDF had not discussed the issue. Chandrappan said he had pointed out the impact of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s statement, when the latter had made it, but CPM State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had dismissed it.

However, Vijayan said he could understand why Chandrappan was criticising Balakrishnan when he should have been trying to expose the vigilance report. “Everyone knows why the vigilance gave a clean chit to the chief minister. The LDF had unanimously demanded that Chandy’s role in palmolein case should be investigated,” said Vijayan. It has also been pointed out that Chandrappan’s statement is also aimed at indirectly helping the faction of Opposition Leader Achuthanandan in the CPM.

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