Sex, money scandals rock Kerala CPM

via VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram - Daily Pioneer published on July 24, 2011

The official leadership of the Kerala CPI(M) is facing intense demand from within the organization for stringent action against the immoral elements in it as yet another senior leader, this time in the central district of Ernakulam, is facing charges of sexual misconduct.

The new episode has become a sharp weapon in the hands of the loyalists of Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan to use against State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan as the senior leader in Ernakulam is his close confidante and ardent loyalist. Pinarayi’s efforts to defend the leader have already met with failure.

Coming within two weeks of the expulsion of P Sasi, former Kannur district secretary and close associate of Pinarayi, on charge of sexual harassment, the problems in the Ernakulam unit have led to serious differences among the top State leaders. It is said that the leader against whom charges are being leveled now is as close to Pinarayi as Sasi had been once.

Several leaders in the party are of the opinion that the frequently arising charges of sexual misconduct and corruption against men in the Pinarayi camp is expressive of the extent to which the official neo-liberalist leadership headed by him has corrupted the party organization since he took over as secretary in 1998.

“Neo-liberalists like Pinarayi, Sasi and this particular Ernakulam leader have done so much damage to the party and its image that even ordinary people here are now saying that the CPI(M) is being driven by MMS (money, mafia and sex),” said a group-neutral leader. “The tragedy is that they are still unable to understand the gravity of the situation,” he added.

When the Ernakulam district secretariat of the CPI(M) the other day took up the issue of the charge of sexual misconduct against the particular leader, Pinarayi, who was attending it as an observer, had tried to defend him saying this was merely an allegation raised in the context of the upcoming party conferences (starting in September).

But in the 19-member secretariat, 14 members opposed this saying that they could provide solid evidence for the leader’s misconduct with a lawyer woman who used to visit him in the district party office frequently. Left with no option, Pinarayi agreed to the suggestion that the State committee should be authorized to take action against the district leader.

This is the fourth allegation of sexual misconduct/abuse to rock the Kerala CPI(M) in less than a month. Just before Sasi was expelled, Thomas Varghese, a local committee secretary, had to be expelled after he was arrested as an accused in the infamous Paravoor sex scandal pertaining to the brutal abuse of a 14-year-old girl by more than 100 men.

Eldo, a CPI(M) trade unionist, was arrested along with Thomas Varghese in the same case. Towards the end of June, Kasaragod district committee member VV Ramesan had to be demoted to a branch committee following allegations of amassing of illegal wealth. He had paid Rs 50 lakh as capitation for his daughter’s MBBS admission in a CPI(M)-controlled college.

The Ernakulam leader, now charged with committing acts of sexual indecency with the lawyer woman even at the district party office, was a loyalist of Achuthanandan till the last State conference in 2008. “But he then changed camps just when Pinarayi was emerging as the unquestionable Czar of the party in the State,” said the group-neutral leader.

Achuthanandan-loyalists have told Pinarayi that they would settle for nothing less than the expulsion of the tainted leader and that any attempt to save him in the State committee would lead to further troubles. Observers say that Pinarayi will have no choice other than accepting their demand particularly as his support base within the party has eroded considerably.

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