Sreemathi’s daughter-in-law to be removed from personal staff

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on June 10, 2008

In a bid to generate a feeling among the party workers and the general public that the party was till on the pro-poor and puritan track of the working class, the CPI(M) in the State has decided to impose some checks and balances on the lavish tendencies and favouritism shown by certain party leaders.

As part of this move, the party State committee which met here on Monday and Tuesday, decided to ask central committee member and Health Minister PK Sreemathi to remove Dhanya M Nair, her daughter in law, from the position of Additional Personal Assistant where the Minister had posted her on a monthly pay of Rs 17,000. The promotion of Dhanya, wife of Sreemathi’s son Sudheer Nambyar, from her earlier post of cook-cum-clerk to Additional Perosnal Assistant had become a controversy in the State with its echoes causing disturbances in the party also.

Also, Polit Bureau member and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan came under heavy criticism from the State committee members for the lavish spending for the marriage of his elder son Benoy in April. The marriage had become hot news across Kerala following allegations that businessman Xavie Mano Mathew had booked the hall at Sri Mulam Club in the capital for a pre-marriage private party.

Sreemathi was alleged to have appointed Dhanya, wife of her only son Sudheer as additional personal assistant much to the disagreement of several party leaders. However, she had tried to justify the appointment even openly saying several household help-hands would be needed for a Minister. She had said that there was no need to make this issue into a controversy as the appointment was not in her office but her residence, but party leaders had disagreed to this.

Several complaints had been made against this appointment but the Minister had refused to intervene by correcting the error. There were also complaints that Dhanya had not been attending duty regularly though she had been appointed in the capacity of additional personal assistant.

The criticisms against Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had come up from the party leaders from Kannur, his own home district. Those who raised the issue pointed out that such extravagance for marriage of offspring was not suitable to the life and style of communists. These leaders pointed out that the marriage of Veena, State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter last month, which was a low-key affair comparatively. However, Pinarayi stood by Kodiyeri and argued for him.

The marriage party at Sri Mulam Club had become a controversy after Bharateeya Janata Yuva Morcha State president K Surendran alleged that the hall was booked for the Kodiyeri family by Xavie Mano Mathew, who had entered into a deal to sell the Merchiston Estate land, a land vested in the Government as per the Ecologically Fragile Lands Act, to the Indian Space Research Organisation. Surendran had also alleged that several persons with transnational criminal links had participated in the function at the club.

However, party leaders said that the decision to reinstate central committee member and a strong Pinarayi-loyalist in the position of general manager of party organ Desabhimani daily had taken away all the glitter of such corrective measures. The State committee had on Monday decided to reinstate Jayarajan, whom the party had removed from the post of general manager after he had taken Rs 2 crore from lottery king Santiago Martin for the paper.

Leaders, who were neutral as far as the group war in the party was concerned, however, said that the semblance of peace in the party seen now was deceptive. The faction fight was still as rampant as it was before the State conference of the party in Kottayam in February, they said. “But there is a difference. This time they want to project an image of unity though underneath it the party is group-ridden,” said a leader. “There could be a reorientation of the groups, but the war is still there,” he added.

This leader claimed that the reinstatement of Jayarajan was the one telling example of a new kind of groupism coming up in the party. “There is a feeling in one section of the party that it has to be more cautious after the appointment of Kodiyeri as a member of the Polit Bureau. This section feels that the new situation could lead to development of yet another power block in the party,” he said.

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