Thiruvananthapuram, July 20 (IANS) Turning the heat on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Monday wrote to CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury seeking his intervention in the way things are going from bad to worse in Kerala under Vijayan.
Chennithala’s letter stated: “As a party which claims to hold high political moral grounds, the onus is on its leadership, with you (Yechury) as the helmsman, to explain this state of affairs and take necessary action against an erring Chief Minister.”
“It is indeed preposterous to suggest that the Chief Minister was unaware about what was happening in his office and the departments under his charge, given his functioning style and the functioning codes of your party. I am prompted to write this letter in the context of the wayward functioning of the Left Democratic Front Ministry, led by Vijayan, who is also a Politburo Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
“This primarily concerns corruption, nepotism and criminalisation of the State administration and gross deviation from the CPI (M)’s proclaimed ideology and code of conduct for party leaders holding public office, a position that has been sharpened over the decades by the numerous party congresses and plenums,” pointed out Chennithala.
The gold smuggling case first came to light when P. S.Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here and employed with the state IT Department, surfaced.
The case turned full circle when their links with senior IAS official M. Sivasankar, who has been suspended and booted out from two key posts — principal secretary to Vijayan and also the State IT secretary, were unearthed.
“The Chief Minister has washed his hands off by feigning ignorance about the developments related to his office. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has now taken over the probe to investigate the larger ramifications of the gold smuggling case. Reports suggest that even Ministers and the Speaker of the State Assembly are guilty of indiscretions in their interactions with some of the main accused,” reads Chennithala’s letter.
He further wrote that now that the NIA is set to widen the scope of its investigations, the office of the Chief Minister is also bound to come under the scanner.
“It has become abundantly clear that the state leadership of your party has absolutely no control over the functioning of the Chief Minister or his office. In this context, the people of Kerala are eagerly waiting for a convincing response on your party’s stand on the issues that have been raised,” states Chennithala.
Meanwhile, the CPI-M central committee is holding an online meeting for two days later this week where this issue is likely to figure.
The single biggest advantage that Vijayan has in the party is his iron grip over the cadre since 1997.
Also scheduled to meet is the ruling Left Democratic Front, which would be the first meeting after Vijayan started to feel the heat due to the case. Now all eyes are on the CPI, the second biggest ally, which has been taking potshots on the controversy.
On Thursday, Vijayan and State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan have called a meeting of the staff members of all the CPI-M state minister’s as part of a damage control exercise, as the image of the Vijayan government has taken a beating for sometime.