Marxist leader’s rich son: Points to ponder

P. Sreekumaran

With the Dubai Police and the Dubai Court giving a clean chit to Binoy Kodiyeri, son of Kerala CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son, the party has emerged out of a tight political situation at least for the time being.
The Kerala CPI(M) had been sent into a tizzy with allegations flying thick and fast against Binoy that he had defrauded a Dubai-based tour company of Rs 13 crore.
What has saved the situation for the CPI(M) is the ‘clearance certificate’ issued by both the Dubai court and Dubai Police that there is no case pending against  Binoy and that there is no ban on his entry into that country.  
The clean chit, which has blunted the edge of opposition criticism,  has come as a big relief for the CPI(M) which has been badly rattled by the orchestrated campaign launched by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP demanding Kodiyeri’s resignation as the CPI(M) state secretary.  
Binoy himself has come out with a strong denial of the  allegation, saying that though there was a cheque bouncing case against him in connection with his business in Dubai,  it had been settled through the courts.
The party has also decided that in view of the ‘satisfactory’ explanations made by Binoy and Kodiyeri himself, there was no need for a probe into the issue. The Kerala unit of the CPI(M) suspects that it was a well-planned move against Kodiyeri who hails from Kannur, on the eve of the Kannur district conference of the CPI(M).
There are also reports that CPI(M) general secretary, Sitaram Yechury had received a complaint against Binoy. Yechury has, of course, denied having received any complaint. But leaders belonging to the Kerala lobby strongly suspect that the news had been leaked by pro-Yechury leaders in the party, who were unhappy about Kodiyeri’s strong support for the draft political resolution adopted by the party’s Kolkata CC meeting ruling out any electoral alliance or understanding with the Congress – a political line strongly advocated by Yechury.
Whatever the truth behind the allegations, the CPI(M) can, for the time being at least, breathe easy. But the very fact that such allegations are being made against CPI(M) leaders with unfailing regularity must  prompt serious introspection in the party’s top leadership both in the state and at the Centre.
There is no denying the prevailing perception that there can be no smoke without fire. What is reinforcing the perception is the luxurious lifestyle of a few top CPI(M) leaders, who preach the virtues of simplicity and simple life to the cadres, whilw wallowing in luxury themselves.
Equally shocking has been the blatant disregard of the norms and guidelines enunciated by the Palakkad Plenum of the party. The Plenum had stressed the virtues of simple life and avoidance of ostentation in personal life. It had also underscored the paramount need for avoiding contacts with business magnates with dubious reputation. But this has been observed more in their breach than in adherence to it is an open secret.   
The CPI(M) has its task cut out in the wake of the Bionoy Kodiyeri episode. The party must act – and act fast – to stem the moral rot that has afflicted it. The sooner the party does this, the better. Otherwise, whatever little credsibility the CPI(M) still commands will also become a thing of the past.
The conduct of top Kerala CPI(M) leaders, especially after the assembly election victory is also a matter of grave concern. Through sheer indifference born out of arrogance to the people’s plight and misery, the CPI(M) leaders have alienated themselves from the public at large. The only exception is CPI(M) patriarch, V S Achuthanandan. How acute is their alienation from the people was clear in the wake of the Ockhi cyclone tragedy which claimed a large number of fishermen’s lives. The CPI(M) leaders, notably Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had to face the brunt of people’s anger for their shocking indifference to the sufferings of the people and the families of the victims of the tragedy. So much so, that the CM had to beat a humiliating retreat in the face of popular ire. The only leader they listened to and warmly welcomed was VS to whom they poured out their tales of woe.
There is a lesson for the CPI(M) leaders to learn. They must take a leaf out of VS’s book and regain the trust and affection of the people. The CPI(M) must also return to the values which endeared the party to the people and which were upheld and sedulously fostered by legendary communist leaders like P. Krishna Pillai, AK Gopalan and EMS Namboodiripad. That way lies salvation for the CPI(M). Any further delay in thus reinventing itself, would spell political doom for the CPI(M). And that will be a terrible tragedy for the future of the left movement. Are the CPI(M) leaders listening? (IPA)

Wednesday, 7 February, 2018