After the enforcement, the NIA also took a stand in favor of Minister KT Jaleel, who was questioned by the NIA, but it is a relief to the government and the CPM that there are indications that the CPI may take a tougher stance on the issue in the coming days. A section of the CPI leaders said that there were some shortcomings in the functioning of the state government and that change was inevitable. According to party sources, some CPI (M) leaders in the cabinet are not happy with the decision.
Despite opposition on some issues, the CPI does not want to put the Front in crisis by criticizing the forthcoming local and assembly elections. Yesterday KT. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran took a favorable stance towards Jaleel. Kanam’s response was that Oommen Chandy, who was the Chief Minister, did not resign despite the judicial inquiry and that Thomas Chandy and others resigned on the basis of a court reference. Except for Kanam, no other CPI leaders have yet commented on the issue. The consensus within the party is that only the leadership should respond to the Jalil issue until the party’s state executive convenes on May 23 and 24.
Though issues affecting the state government will be discussed at the Left Front meeting to be held this evening, the CPI (M) has decided to respond only if the CPM presents issues at the meeting. At the same time, the CPI hopes that the CPM will explain things. The party says it would be wrong to support Jalil if there is anything against him beyond being questioned by the NIA. Some CPI leaders said that the difference in the weight of the packets brought by the religious scriptures and the fact that the religious scriptures were carried in the SIPT’s vehicle had created contempt and suspicion among the people.
The situation in the state is such that even political explanatory meetings cannot be held. It is no exaggeration to say that the probe by the three central agencies is prolonging the election. The central government may have tried to exploit it politically. The CPI (M) leaders also said that the allegations leveled against the family members of the ministers had caused a lot of frustration in the cabinet.
The CPM has taken a stand against Jalil despite many allegations, including the Markdana controversy. But the CPI leaders said that the CPM did not bother to correct the minister then. CPI leaders also criticize the manner in which the minister appeared during the enforcement and NIA interrogations.
The CPI (M)’s post-party executive approach is to reconsider its position or file an ED report against Jalil in court. But a senior leader told Flashy that the CPI would not be handcuffed if the criticism at the executive meeting was strong and the controversy escalated. There are indications that there will be criticism against Jalil at the executive meeting.
Corrective power of the front
During the last four-and-a-half years of its rule, the CPI (M) has been the corrective force in the Front whenever the LDF government has deviated from the Left approach. Political Kerala has discussed the stand taken against the CPI government on many issues, including the resignation of Thomas Chandy, the Panteerankavu UAPA case, the sprinkler deal, the Maoist poaching and the Athirappilly controversy. The CPI has a long history of not attending cabinet meetings to force Thomas Chandy to resign. However, the CPM is looking at the stance taken by the CPI at a time when the government is in deep crisis. Jalil is facing bigger allegations and agitations than Shivshankar. Most of the leaders said that if the CPI remained silent at this time, it would be to the detriment of the party itself.