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Kerala CPI(M) secretary’s luxury-car ride lands ruling LDF in controversy

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan took part in the LDF’s Jana Jagratha Yatra in a Mini Cooper owned by an accused in a gold smuggling case.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 16:18 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Left Democratic Front leaders at the launch of the ruling front’s statewide Jana Jagratha Yatra at Kasargode in north Kerala. (HT File Photo )

CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan participating the Left Democratic Front’s Jana Jagratha Yatra in a luxury car owned by an accused in a smuggling case caused a major embarrassment for the Kerala’s ruling front.

The yatra has been planned to counter a similar state-wide campaign conducted by the BJP earlier this month.

Opposition Congress and BJP were quick to rub it in on the government seeking an explanation from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan even as the embarrassed state secretary claimed he was not aware of the ownership of the vehicle.

The party would now examine the blooper, he said.

“When yatra reached Koduvally (Kozhikkode) on Wednesday evening party workers urged me to board a vehicle and I did. I wasn’t aware of the make or ownership of the car. The party will examine how it happened,” he said.

He boarded a Mini Cooper and travelled in the open vehicle for some distance.

Muslim League state secretary M C Mayin Haji was the first to raise a finger at Balakrishnan. He said the car is owned by Karat Faisal, who is an accused in an alleged attempt to smuggle a large quantity of gold through Kozhikkode international airport in 2013.

Faisal, the seventh accused in the case, was also arrested by the directorate of revenue intelligence.

Faisal admitted that he owned the car. He said he gave the car for the secretary’s use following a request from some party local functionaries.

“It clearly shows smugglers are sponsoring the yatra. The CPI(M) leader should reveal all the favours he had received from the smuggling kingpin,” said BJP leader K Surendran.

It’s sad that the CPI(M), which claims to be a proletarian party, has stooped so low, he added.

On October 21 the LDF started its twin yatras--one from the northern end of the state and the other from the southern tip—to counter the BJP’s much-hyped Janraksha Yatra, which crisscrossed the state from October 3-17.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 16:18 IST