Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 12 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Opposition in Kerala has accused the ruling CPI(M) of "patronising" the mafias, especially those engaged in distribution of banned tobacco products.
The Congress and the BJP tore into the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government following the suspension of a CPI(M) councillor A. Shahnawaz at Alappuzha by the district party unit after a lorry carrying banned tobacco products was taken into custody.
It turned out that the lorry belonged to Shahnawaz and two people arrested with the consignment were close associates of the councillor, who first feigned ignorance of the two arrested.
But later, pictures of the three celebrating Shahnawaz's birthday recently surfaced forcing the party to take action.
While the two youths, who were members of the youth wing of the party, were ousted, Shahnawaz was only suspended, allegedly due to proximity with State Minister for Culture, Fisheries Saji Cherian, who till recently was the Alappuzha district CPI-M secretary.
Giving a clean chit to Shahnawaz, Cherian said a committee has been formed to probe into the allegations, even as they have no evidence against him.
According to sources, of the 14 members who assessed the situation arising after the lorry was seized, 12 were strong Shahnawaz supporters.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan alleged that for long they have been saying that the CPI-M leaders were shielding the mafias operating in the state.
"We want Chief Minister Vijayan and CPI-M state secretary to comment on the matter as on the one hand this government is spending crores against the ill-effects of drugs but on the other, its party cadres and leaders themselves are acting as agents in trading these banned products," Satheesan said, adding that there have been few such instances that have surfaced by now.
"When we raised the issue in the state Assembly on December 9, the CPI(M) leaders, including Vijayan, dismissed it saying that one should not go by media reports. The situation has arisen because the government has got a second term and they are enjoying and misusing the power," added Satheesan.
State BJP president K.Surendran said the main reason why the cadres and local leaders are engaging in mafia activities is because they get patronage from the top brass, just as Shahnawaz got the full support of Cherian.
"The very fact that the party sat down to discuss the issue after three days confirms that the wrong-doers enjoy the patronage of the higher ups. Just see the recent report of the Left convenor and former CPI-M Minister E.P.Jayarajan's family engaging in resort business. Right from top to bottom, the Kerala CPI-M is neck deep in corruption and when these issues crop up, the CPI-M deflects it by diverting the attention to other issues," Surendran asserted.