Why the LDF Has Decided to Stick Its Neck Out for KT Jaleel

A source in the CPI(M) said that the decision to back Jaleel was also driven by EP Jayarajan’s resignation in 2016.

4 min read
Hindi Female

The Left Democratic Front in Kerala has had a politically turbulent time in the last few  months. From the Sprinklr deal to the allegations around a top bureaucrat in the gold smuggling scam and now to continuous and massive protests against state minister KT Jaleel, the ruling front has been busy dealing with one controversy after the other during a pandemic.

Jaleel was first questioned by the Enforcement Directorate and then by the National Investigation Agency. And in the last few days, the Opposition has staged massive and mostly violent protests in almost every district raising one demand: KT Jaleel should resign. The LDF, however, has declared their staunch support for the minister.

CPI(M) And Allies Guard Jaleel

Minister for Law and CPI(M) leader AK Balan said that there was nothing unusual in Jaleel being summoned for a statement. While Balan has repeatedly said that Jaleel does not have to resign, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan echoed the same in a press meet on Friday.

“Jaleel is not going to resign and none need to protest for that. There was opinion in the party Secretariat held on Friday that the allegations against Jaleel were politically motivated and that goons were hired to unleash violence in the protests against Jaleel,” Kodiyeri said.

“The party has decided to kick off a campaign to convince people of the truth,” he said.

A source in the CPI(M) said that the decision to back Jaleel was also driven by former minister EP Jayarajan’s hurried resignation in 2016, which later proved to be an unwanted move. “There is no opinion inside the CPI(M) that Jaleel should quit. Many are of the opinion that EP Jayarajan should not have quit in 2016 over allegations of  nepotism. He came back into the Cabinet in 2018 after he got a clean chit from the court. So from that experience we have learnt that reacting hastily to mere allegations is not prudent,” the source said.

The CPI(M)’s decision to stick its neck out for Jaleel who had contested as an independent candidate under the party’s symbol is also a much thought out one.

“We have asked our people to gauge the situation on the ground. What we have been told is that the government did face people’s anger during the Sabarimala issue, but this time it is not like that. Yes, there are people who will be questioning the party, but we will go to them with our explanation. However, with the credibility of the media under question, it is not like people are believing all the allegations against the government blindly,” the source said.

MA Baby, Politburo member of the party, told TNM that ‘no one with common sense would think that Jaleel should resign’. “Everyone knows how the central investigating agencies function now. It’s either to shoot or to book in cases — what the BJP does to political opponents. If all those who are questioned by the central agencies resign, a new government may be needed to form as there will be none left,” he said.

Though the CPI(M) seems adamant on its stand to back Jaleel, the Opposition too is not ready to let go. The Congress and BJP’s fury seems to be also driven by the political example set by the LDF when it was the Opposition in the state.  The state had witnessed fiery protests against the previous United Democratic Front government in the bar bribery scam over the allegation that the then Finance Minister KM Mani had taken bribes from bar owners in the state. The turbulent protests led to Mani resigning from the Cabinet in November 2015. In 2018, Mani got a clean chit in the case.

The LDF Secretariat siege in 2013 – that lasted for many days — demanding the resignation of then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in relation to the Solar Scam, is one of the largest protests the state has witnessed in recent years.

But the CPI(M) should not be complacent, says another source close to the party.


“A couple of months ago, there was the feeling that the LDF would return to power. With the gold smuggling case and the Chief Minister’s office coming into focus in connection with it, the entire political scenario has been twisted.

The edge Pinarayi had, with the effective handling of two consecutive floods and the pandemic, should have shifted to the defence now. And with a Cabinet minister’s name also being connected with it, the political atmosphere has become favourable for the Opposition,” the source said.

He added that with the Assembly elections due for next year, the gold smuggling case will have an impact on the winning probabilities of the Left Democratic Front.

“It’s indeed a setback to the government though the government and Left leaders have been trying to tackle it by twisting the focus to the Quran,” the source added.

(This article has been republished in arrangement with The News Minute)

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Topics:  LDF   CM Pinarayi Vijayan   CPI(M)-Congress 

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