CPM which heads the ruling Left Democratic Front is divided on the question of re-inducting E.P.Jayarajan into the state cabinet, While one section is keen to ensure that Jayarajan who was forced to quit ministership in the wake of the alleged appointment of a relative in a state enterprise, the rival section wants him to be kept off.
The decision to end the vigilance enquiry into the controversial appointment of his relative and son of party leader P.K.Sreemathy as managing director of Kerala State Industrial Enterprises (KSIE) has however created the congenial atmosphere to reinduct Jayarajan who resigned as industry minister. But latest reports from within CPM circles indicate that his re-entry will not be that easy. This is especially so as pre-party Congress conferences are now in progress all over the state.
There is also a theory that the very winding up of vigilance case was to facilitate Jayarajan's re-entry in view of the pre-party Congress conferences. There has been lately a school of thought gaining acceptance within the party that why Jayarajan alone should be kept out even as those belonging to the non-CPM ruling partners are allowed to continue in the cabinet despite serious charges of corruption against them. Transport Minister Thomas Chandy enjoying the support and protection of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is pointed out as the classic case to substantiate the alleged discrimination by the Chief Minister against the CPM leader from Kannur, E.P.Jayararajan. Similarly NCP nominee A.K.Saseendran who was minister in charge of transport too had to quit as minister in the wake of a report telecast by a news channel alleging he had sexually misbehaved with a lady reporter.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is maintaining a studied silence on the reports that Jayarahan would be back in the cabinet. It was Pinarayi who insisted that Jayarajan should quit in the wake of charge of nepotism. The Chief Minister was then keen to uphold the image of his government as corruption free. But much water flowed down the Kerala rivers after Jayarajan resigned. Several charges of corruption were levelled against Pinarayi government. Some of the ministers were also alleged to have been involved in corruption. But they were simply ignored by the Chief Minister. Right now the opposition parties are in an agitation demanding resignation of Transport Minister Thomas Chandy of NCP against whom grave charges of encroachment and illegal possession of several acres of land in different parts of Alappuzha district are leveled. But Pinarayi has been defending Thomas Chandy. This has irked a section in the party, specially the comrades from Kannur and those who support them.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's reaction was that the party would examine whether Jayarajan should be re-inducted into the cabinet. But there is an apprehension that bringing back Jayarajan would further strengthen the militant Kannur lobby in the party amid pre-party Congress conferences. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran also washed off his hands by passing on the ball to CPM leadership when asked to comment on Jayarajan's future. Kanam only said that it was for the CPM to decide.
The strength of Pinarayi cabinet including the Chief Minister was originally nineteen. Two ministers resigned in between, namely CPM nominee E.P.Jayarajan and NCP nominee A.K.Saseendran This brought down the number of ministers. But Thomas Chandy from NCP was sworn in as minister when Saseendran resigned. From CPM, M.M.Mani was inducted as minister to fill the vacancy created by Jayarajan's exit. Now if Jayarajan is to be re-inducted, the number of ministers will go up. When the Pinarayi cabinet assumed office over an year back, Then it was announced that the size of the cabinet was minimised as part of the new government's economy drive. The other option before Pinarayi today is to ask Thomas Chandy to resign and re-induct Jayarajan.