Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form, said Karl Marx by whom the CPM swears.
Women issues in different forms have been battering the ruling CPM. Licking the wounds after the terrible drubbing at the recent Lok Sabha elections where an issue of women and their entry to Sabarimala played a dominating role in isolating people even in its strongholds; the party that is clamouring to uphold gender equality and renaissance has now been put to an embarrassing position through the Binoy Kodiyeri case.
Binoy is the eldest son of CPM state secretary and politburo member of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. He is now facing charges of sexual assault, rape and cheating and reports are that he has been summoned by Mumbai police to be present in three days. The Mumbai police have reached Kannur as part of the probe.
It is not the first time that he has embarrassed his father's party followers. Last year, he was involved in a fraud of Rs 13 crore. His passport was impounded and somehow the case was settled.
This time the case is even graver. Binoy has been accused of rape, sexual assault and cheating a former dance bar girl in Dubai. In the FIR registered in Mumbai, her complaint says Binoy gave a promise to marry her. She is now a mother of an eight-year-old and the passport of the minor has Binoy’s name as his father.
He was a frequent visitor to the dance bar and used to shower money on her and slowly the relationship grew. She and the child were shifted to Mumbai in 2010 and till 2015 Binoy is said to have sent her money every month and also visited her frequently.
But things suddenly changed. He stopped sending money saying business was dull and when in 2018 she learnt that he was already married much before their relationship, she raised the matter with him and received threatening calls.
It may read like any story of cheating on the basis of false promise that is quite common these days. But what makes it different is that here the culprit is the son of a senior leader of a party that claims to stand for moral values, gender equality and lately, rekindle the spirit of renaissance.
Parallel to this was the party’s Shoranur legislator PK Sasi case where he was accused by a DYFI woman leader of sexual harassment late last year. The party decided to constitute a party inquiry committee which found him guilty of speaking to the woman over phone in a manner “unbecoming of a leader”. A six-month suspension was slapped and he is now returned to the party.
Worse still is the fact that with his clout, youth wing leaders who sided with the victim were removed from top posts in the organisation. In retaliation, the girl dashed off a letter saying she was resigning all posts she held in the youth wing. Sensing more trouble, the party bigwigs decided that the resignation will not be accepted now and issues she raised will be discussed at the next district committee. Party cadre are peeved by their candidate, who is said to be in the anti-Sasi camp, and was defeated in Palakkad in the recent Lok Sabha election where Sasi’s Assembly constituency in his hometown, gave the UDF candidate a massive majority.
In Sasi’s case, the victim sent her complaints first to none other than Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and then to another politburo member Brinda Karat. When she received no response, she sent an email to general secretary Sitaram Yechuri who publicly announced that he had asked the state leadership to look into the matter.
In Binoy’s case, the woman is learnt to have sent a complaint to the party’s central leadership a few months ago and it was decided that it was a personal matter concerning Binoy and not his father or the party and there was no reason to interfere in the matter. However, party leaders were cautioned against directly getting involved in the matter.
Ironically, till date neither the party leadership nor Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has uttered a word, either saying the usual let the law take its course or as Binoy said it was a cooked up story. Even Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan simply avoided media persons who went after him for his reaction to the issue.
This party silence appears astonishing because when there were allegations against some leaders on the other side, the party did not hesitate to make a hue and cry. One cannot forget how the Government acted immediately when a Congress legislator from Thiruvananthapuram was alleged to have misbehaved with a woman.
In a case of moral policing another leader and now MP was said to have been found in a house with a woman and party cadre rushed there and literally gheraoed him.
There are reasons for the UDF not raising the matter unlike in the case of charges leveled years back against the son of the then Chief Minister and CPM veteran VS Achuthanandan. The ruckus created in the Assembly cannot be forgotten as at the peak of factionalism in the CPM, there was a big group within the CPM strongly against VS.
The response of VS was something the present party leadership can emulate. He asked the then Opposition Leader to give the charges in writing. On receiving that, he asked the Opposition to name the official who should probe these charges and if his son was guilty, proper punishment should be meted out.
In the wake of allegations of his son having connections with the lottery mafia outside the State, VS wrote to the Centre seeking a proper inquiry into the lottery racket and also to look into any connection his son may have had and ensure proper punishment if he was guilty.
But that was hardly a decade ago and by now things have changed in the party, despite all the rhetoric of idealism that even Balakrishnan reels out day in and out.
There are a few things that the party and its followers need to know. The charges leveled against Binoy have, on the face of it, a level of truthfulness. Intimate pictures of Binoy with the woman are doing their rounds in social media. Binoy has, in fact, said he knew the woman who has also offered to let her child undergo a DNA test to prove Binoy’s fatherhood.
There is more to it than what has just come out. It is a fact that the assets of Binoy or for that matter any CPM leader’s children are the political clout of the father or mother. In the Rs 13-crore financial fraud against Binoy last year, the party took the stand that it was a personal matter and it was for Binoy to settle it. And in a day or two, the matter was settled. Someone paid for Binoy which by simple logic means it was done only for some favours in return. And the asset can only be Balakrishnan’s political clout.
A top party leader privately confessed that there were several issues that needed to be probed like who sponsored Binoy’s travel and stay in Dubai. He did not go there like the thousands of Keralites reaching Gulf for jobs. What was the source of the money he showered on the dancer at the bar there? What was the business that made him filthy rich all of a sudden? Was the person who accommodated him in anyway linked to an infamous scandal that rocked Kerala some years ago? This could also give an answer to the silence of the UDF in this particular incident, he admits. Answers to all these will unveil big scandals that the children of leaders, using the political powers of their parents, have been engaging themselves in.
Binoy also filed a complaint to the IG of Kannur range of blackmail against the woman, posing more questions. What prompted him to file the complaint in Kannur when the jurisdiction of the case is in Mumbai? Why did the police sit on his complaint for over three months? Did it see little in the case to be probed? Or was this a ploy to derail the case?
The BJP is out to make this a big issue. Given the number of cases slapped on its leaders here, rather than going in for a politics of confrontation, it remains to be seen if some compromise will be worked out.
Again there is talk of a new factionalism coming up in the party which is behind this new revelation. The other camp is now on the prowl to unravel `bigger scandals’. Days ahead could be those of dirty linen being washed in public and no preaching or sermonising on gender equality and moral values can save this party.
These could be reasons for the hush before a storm in the party. But as Marx said these do not seem to take a reasonable form and are simply defying all logic.