Kerala CPI-M rattled by latest controversies

Thiruvananthapuram: Signs of a deepening crisis in Kerala CPI-M over the misdeeds of close relatives of its top leaders were evident as the party appeared confused on whether to go on the defensive or launch a counter-offensive.

The state party leadership held an urgent meeting to consider the loss of face over the twin issues of the alleged sexual abuse of a Mumbai woman by the son of state party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnanan and the suicide of an NRI businessman, who was driven to the desperate act by the highhandedness of the wife of prominent leader M V Govindan.

As the meeting progressed, reports came that Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had offered to resign to save the party from further embarrassment while the chairperson-wife of Govindan had been asked by the party to quit. The approach seemed to have changed after the deliberations of the party leadership meeting, with Kodiyeri distancing himself from his son’s sex exploits and claiming that he cannot be responsible for the misdeeds of his family members.

He further claimed that Benoy Kodiyeri, the man against whom the Mumbai police has issued a look-out notice, lives separately and that he has not met him ever since the sleazy affair came to light. The defence, however, appeared to be less convincing as reports from Mumbai suggested that the woman’s family had contacted Kodiyeri Balakrishnan over a year ago to complain against his son. The family further claimed that the accused threatened the woman and family over their claim. The man is claiming that he is a victim of a blackmail operation launched by the woman.

Kodiyeri reiterated the stand taken by the CPI-M leaders that the party cannot be responsible for the conduct of individuals who may be related to party leaders, but it is for those individuals to defend themselves. The woman had also reportedly complained to the party''s central leadership which, however, took the position that the party is not responsible for the conduct of individuals. But Kodiyeri declared that neither he nor the party would try to shield the alleged offender. "Neither my party (CPI-M) nor I will protect Binoy. He is an adult. He stays as a separate family and is responsible for his actions," he told media persons.

- K RAVEENDRAN

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