Kerala

LDF labours to fend off Congress, BJP allegations

Graphic outcry: A protest by Mahila Congress in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleging involvement of his office in the gold smuggling case. S. Mahinsha  

Seemingly thrown off balance by the back-to-back arrests of M. Sivasankar and Bineesh Kodiyeri on money laundering charges, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) appeared labouring to shield itself from the searing anti-government propaganda campaign and aggressive street agitations unleashed by the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was yet to respond to Bineesh’s arrest. He had maintained the government was in the clear in the UAE gold smuggling and LIFE Mission cases.

State secretary of the Communist Marxist Party of India (Marxist) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had distanced the party from Bineesh and reiterated that the party would not protect wrongdoers.

Despite the averments of the leaders, the CPI(M) appeared struggling to send a clear message to party workers to help them counter the Opposition’s campaign that the LDF had mislaid its moral compass and allowed leaders and their kin to enrich themselves illegally under the shade of power.

Congress and BJP leaders have repeatedly used the CPI(M)'s proclaimed stance against corruption to assail the party and its leadership ahead of the local body polls. They have termed the view of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in the matter ambivalent.

CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran echoed the stance of the CPI(M) that Bineesh Kodiyeri was a private individual and did not represent the government or the LDF in any capacity.

The Enforcement Directorate had merely advanced the Centre’s policy to unsettle non-BJP State governments by using federal law enforcement to discredit Opposition leaders and their kin.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, and BJP State president targeted Mr. Balakrishnan and Mr. Vijayan separately.

Mr. Muraleedharan questioned the source of Bineesh’s wealth. He said the CPI(M) had lost its ethical moorings and mutated as a money-making machine for its leaders and their kin.

Mr. Chennithala said Mr. Balakrishnan’s allegation that he had received an expensive watch as a gift from gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh had backfired. The ED had found that Mr. Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary Sivasankar owned it.

Mr. Surendran said Mr. Vijayan knew who owned another watch gifted by Swapna to those at the apex of the government. He questioned the provenance of an expensive smartwatch allegedly owned by Mr. Vijayan. He said Mr. Vijayan had close links with Swapna and had introduced her favourably to the officialdom.

The BJP and the Congress demanded that Customs investigate Mr. Vijayan on the charge of abetment to gold smuggling.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 2:54:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ldf-labours-to-fend-off-congress-bjp-allegations/article32985853.ece

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