THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Regarding the controversy involving Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel, both the CPM and the Chief Minister have reiterated that the issue is not Jaleel, but the Quran. Is the CPM too going in for appeasement politics?
We didn’t drag the Quran into the issue. It was a Muslim League MLA who spoke about the smuggling of the Quran in the Assembly. It was the UDF convener who sent a complaint to the Prime Minister over the distribution of the Quran. It was the Opposition alone that dragged the Quran into the controversy.
As Communists, we are not against distributing any religious text. Neither the Quran nor the Bible are banned. Anyone can distribute them to believers. When there was a campaign against the distribution of the Quran, our stance was that there’s nothing wrong in distributing it as it isn’t a banned book. That apart, we are not the propagators of any of these books.
When a minor allegation cropped up against E P Jayarajan, despite being a Central Committee member, he was asked to stay away. Why this partisan approach in the case of Jaleel?
As a senior leader, Jayarajan said he would keep away from the cabinet, and the party accepted it. Jayarajan hadn’t done anything wrong but he felt that allegations of nepotism would affect the party’s integrity. Jaleel hasn’t done anything wrong either. If we start ousting ministers because of mere allegations, how can the cabinet function?
If the allegations against EP affected the CPM’s image, isn’t the same argument applicable here?
What’s the logic in propagating made-up stories? The party indulges in constant rectification, for which we are constantly made fun of. If we have erred, we would be the first ones to admit it. This is more of a political agitation, and we shall take it on politically. We were brought to power by the masses. Till the time we enjoy their support, we shall continue in power. We shall neither bow down before intimidation of any sort nor sacrifice anyone.
Both the CPM and the CPI have alleged the investigations are politically motivated. But the CM reiterates that the investigation is in the right direction. Are the CM and the party on different pages in this regard?
The party and the government are not the same. The party has its own stance that is made public, while the government can function only as per the Constitution. If the Chief Minister criticises a central government agency, that would give the issue an altogether different dimension. The state doesn’t oppose investigation by central agencies. It’s a fact that central agencies are being used to sabotage state governments.
Arrests of extremists have increased in recent times. Has it got anything to do with the Left being in power?
With the Left in power, there won’t be any fake encounters. Hence, many use the state as a hideout. Some Lashkar-e-Taiba activists were arrested recently. The Maoists consider LeT as anti-imperialist. Hence, they favour LeT and want to join hands with such extremist forces. The Congress in Kerala too wants to join hands with all, including extremist forces. The Muslim League isn’t reluctant to join hands with terror groups linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba. In future, it could lead to direct links with LeT. Such extremist activities won’t help democracy. On the one hand, there’s the RSS brand of Hindutva. The BJP knows that it can’t come to power in Kerala. But if they win more seats, they can make inroads into Kerala politics in future.
Even if the UDF comes to power, the BJP is hopeful of exercising control, using the Centre. On the other, there’s Muslim communalism. The League has taken an initiative to accept extremist forces like Jamaat-e-Islami and SDPI into its fold. Now, IUML dominates within the UDF. If there’s another UDF rule, it will be under IUML’s thumb. The League’s earlier structure has changed, post Jamaat-e-Islami influence. In this scenario, we need to protect the secular base. The Left is the only hope for religious minorities in the state.
As party secretary, do back-to-back allegations against your children affect CPM?
We can’t do anything about made-up allegations. The name of my son, Bineesh Kodiyeri, was dragged into the Kiliroor and the Kaviyoor harassment cases. Both were probed by CBI, which revealed no links whatsoever. When Paul Muthoot was murdered, I was the Home Minister. An allegation linked the murder with Bineesh.
It was I who forwarded the probe to CBI. The CPM won’t shield any wrongdoer, even if it’s my son. A deliberate campaign is being run by certain sections. Bineesh’s name was dragged into the case right at the beginning by the Opposition. Wasn’t Chennithala who first raised such an allegation? They want to mar the integrity of the Chief Minister and the party secretary.
Senior leader P Jayarajan has stated the party is not answerable for the wayward behaviour of sons of leaders. Does it mean that they have erred in some way?
The party won’t be answerable, in case they have erred, is what he meant. That is also the party’s proclaimed stance as well as mine.