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Kodiyeri Junior's Fraud: Kerala CPM Now Has a Succession Problem

A fraud case in a foreign country against Binoy Kodiyeri is a monumental embarrassment for Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and the party which fashions itself the ‘voice of the proletariat’.

Achyuth Punnekat | CNN-News18

Updated:January 25, 2018, 12:18 PM IST
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Kodiyeri Junior's Fraud: Kerala CPM Now Has a Succession Problem
File photo of Binoy Kodiyeri. (Twitter)
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The repercussions of a fraud case against the son of Kerala CPM’s Kodiyeri Balakrishnan are far and wide. It is alleged that Binoy Kodiyeri defaulted on a Rs 13 crore loan from a Dubai firm. A Dubai court has asked the Interpol to take action. Binoy faces upto three years imprisonment.

Kodiyeri is the state chief of the party which rules Kerala. He always attributed his luxury house and cars to the business fortunes of his sons. A fraud case in a foreign country against Binoy is a monumental embarrassment for him and the party which fashions itself the ‘voice of the proletariat’.

Can CPM survive this?

SERIAL SCANDALS

This is the third major scandal to hit this Left government in Kerala. The first was over ‘nepotism’ by ministers E P Jayarajan & PK Sreemathi. The second forced the resignation of NCP Minister Thomas Chandy. News18 Kerala also recently highlighted the frequent ‘private’ foreign trips of state ministers.

At Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s behest, it was the Kodiyeri-led Kerala unit which defeated the proposal to ally with the (corruption-tainted) Congress. Coming in wake of the seething rift in the party, the state unit has been unseated from its high horse. Pinarayi Vijayan himself is still not completely out of the shadow of the SNC Lavalin corruption scandal.

‘HAWALA HALWA’

A press statement from BJP, which is keen to dislodge the CPM as the sole Hindu party in Kerala, reads – “The accused are kingpins and channels for the party… in money laundering in the state. They are well connected to the underworld… through hawala channels”. It doesn’t help that Kodiyeri’s ride in a luxury car owned by a gold smuggler in October owned him the nickname “Cooper Balan”. As noted earlier, the BJP has been trying hard to paint the Left as anti-national. This case of financial fraud is halwa served on a platter to the BJP.

RECEDING HEIR

The Left in Kerala has always followed a duumvirate style, separating the role of Chief Minister and Party Secretary. But it has become a tradition for the party secretary to be next in line for the Chief Minister’s post. When EK Nayanar was CM, VS Achuthanandan was party secretary. When VS became CM, Pinarayi held the post. By that logic, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan would have had a shot at the top post sometime in the future. But that is dashed now. Kodiyeri lacks the virtuous image of Achuthanandan or the strongman persona of Pinarayi to shake off the corruption taint which dogs him.

At 73, Pinarayi may get yet another shot at being CM in the future. But the question is… After Pinarayi, who? As in Stalinist Russia, the competition in the party has been silenced. Leaders like P Jayarajan, who had shown promise of growing bigger, have been cut down to size. Rising support for BJP, especially amongst the youth, means Kerala’s politics cannot remain bipolar for long. Without an heir, could Pinarayi Vijayan end up being the last communist Chief Minister of Kerala? The CPM desperately needs to find a Kerala Krushchev. ​
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