Even as Kerala gears up for a high-stakes local body election in December, only months before the state Assembly elections scheduled for mid-2021, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM) today approved a leave of absence for Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state party secretary, on medical grounds.
A Vijayaraghavan, convenor of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), will hold charge as state secretary, according to a party statement released today.
This is the second time Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is going on leave for treatment this year after he was diagnosed with cancer. There is no clarity on how long will he be away this time. Notably, though, no one was officially assigned Mr Balakrishnan’s responsibility the last time.
The medical leave comes weeks after the arrest of Mr Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri in an alleged money laundering case linked to a narcotics case in Bengaluru. The main accused in the case, a drug peddler, according to the probe agency, had close links with the CPM leader’s son. Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate raided Bineesh Kodiyeri’s Thiruvananthapuram residence in connection with the case.
The CPIM has, however, publicly backed the veteran leader, saying his son is not being shielded by the party or the state government and that Mr Balakrishnan himself had done no wrong. The opposition had been demanding his resignation.
“The opposition demands are baseless and political gimmicks. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan needs further treatment. And, due to the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, it’s an added challenge for him to travel across the state due to his medical condition. It’s in this context that A Vijayaraghavan has been given the duty of state secretary,” Parliamentarian KK Ragesh told NDTV.