Sasi, Jaleel - cursors to crumbling CPM central leadership
Kerala

Sasi, Jaleel - cursors to crumbling CPM central leadership

The Yeatsian imagery a century ago of “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”, fits in well for today's CPIM. Its central leadership has failed to hold the Kerala wing.

Two recent things or persons, among the many, stand out to prove this - the complaint against Shoranur legislator PK Sasi that he had sexually assaulted a party youth wing leader and the charge of nepotism where Minister KT Jaleel appointed his cousin as general manager of the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation, flouting all rules. Other such appointments, putting the revolutionary party in a spot, are surfacing.

When the victim of Sasi's sexual assault first wrote to the state leadership of the CPIM and never got a reply, she complained to politburo member Brinda Karat and the response was no different. Finally, she emailed party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri with attachments of voice recordings of Sasi's lewd talk, and response was immediate.

Yechuri announced publicly that he had directed the state leadership to look into the matter. In hardly a few hours, State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told mediapersons that a party probe had been initiated already as if to say that it was not at the instance of the central leadership. Other politburo members of the 'anti-Yechuri’ camp too backed Kodiyeri.

A two-member team of Minister AK Balan and PK Sreemathy, MP, began probing the matter. The victim complained that there was pressure on her to withdraw the complaint and money was offered. Balan said even this was being looked into and action would be taken against Sasi.

The complaint was made in early August and till date the party has not taken action. Worse still, Balan and Sasi shared the dais very recently at a party meeting and Sasi who had ‘gone into hiding and avoided party meetings for quite some time due to health reasons’ is back in public.

Realising that the central leadership's diktat has been flouted, the victim and DYFI leader has sent a fresh complaint to the party's headquarters in Delhi. All this when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan waxes eloquently on gender equality only over the Sabarimala issue.

Yechuri's hold on the party has been on the wane. When the allegation of nepotism cropped up immediately after the CPM-led Left Democratic Front Government came to power, minister EP Jayarajan had to bow out. Though the state leadership stood solidly behind Jayarajan who made a backdoor appointment of his relative, the central team could assert. A very senior party leader had told this writer about the “struggle for nearly two days to convince the ‘adamant’ state leadership and Pinarayi on the need to show Jayarajan the door”.

That Jayarajan is back and the person who he appointed left are issues altogether different. There is now the appointment of KT Adeeb by his cousin and Minister KT Jaleel. According to the Minister there was no 'suitable’ candidate among those who appeared for interview for the post of general manager and so Adeeb was called to take up the job.

“We posted several advertisements in newspapers inviting eligible persons to apply for the position. Seven candidates had applied of which three were chosen. However, none of them was found to be suitable for the position,” Jaleel had said in a press conference to justify the out-of-the-way appointment of his cousin.

According to records, the operation began soon after CPIM came to power. The qualification for the post was reworked to an engineering graduation with a diploma in business analytics that fitted well for Adeeb who works in a private sector institution - South Indian Bank. The diploma, according to those in the banking sector, is mainly for promotion purposes. Justifying the inclusion of engineering graduation, Jaleel even said very seriously that former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was a BTech degree holder!!

But around that time came the Jayarajan issue and so Adeeb's appointment was put in the backburner. Even if Adeeb met all other criteria, though he did not, his appointment on deputation from a private sector bank defies all logic. And if grapevine is to be believed, Jaleel has, since coming to power, made over 60 personal appointments.

And yet, the CPM state secretariat on Friday decided to back Jaleel and felt there was no case for nepotism and if needed the matter could be fought in a court of law. But certainly not in the 'people’s court’ by which the party used to swear till recently. Pinarayi and team know Yechuri has little control and he will have to bow before the decisions of the leadership of the State, the only last straw after the other tiny one, Tripura, fell.

And Yeats again: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”