Kerala ruling party secretary steps down

Thiruvananthapuram

CPI-M state party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, whose son is in judicial custody in a Bengaluru jail in an ED case for suspected hawala and benami deals and drug peddling, stepped down on Friday, citing health reasons.

Left Democratic Front convener and central committee member A Vijayaraghavan will take charge of the state secretary during Kodiyeri’s absence. Party circles insist Kodiyeri will be back after the treatment, but it is interpreted as the state secretary’s resignation.

A cryptic party press note said its secretary has been granted leave so he can continue his treatment for cancer, which the staunch Pinarayi supporter has been suffering from. Kodiyeri had undergone treatment in the US twice and his health showed improvement, and he was back in action.

When he was away in the US, he continued to be party secretary, though some functions were delegated to central committee member MV Govindan, seen as a likely successor.

The involvement of his son in dubious operations leading to his arrest, had triggered demands for Kodiyeri’s resignation, but the state party and the central leadership stood solidly behind him, despite the existence of a party document which prescribed a communist-compliant code of conduct for the family of party leaders.

But with more graphic details of his son’s operations having come to light, Kodiyeri was increasingly under pressure, including from a section of the central leadership to step aside as the party was facing two crucial elections, one for the local bodies and the other for the assembly early next year.

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