CPM-BJP nexus: Convicted CPM panchayat member step down as standing committee chair in Kasaragod
BJP workers on Feb 20 locked the BJP Kasaragod Office and staged a sit-in to protest their party's electoral understanding with CPM in Kumbla Panchayat that favoured a BJP worker's murder convict.
KASARGOD: A day after BJP workers revolted against their party for striking an "unholy nexus" with the CPM in Kumbla panchayat, CPM member S Koggu submitted his resignation as the chairman of the Standing Committee for Welfare.
However, the BJP chairpersons of two standing committees said they have not got any directions from their party to step down.
BJP workers were particularly enraged with the electoral understanding because it paved the way for Koggu -- convicted of killing BJP worker Vinu Koippady -- to become the chairperson of the panchayat's Standing Committee for Welfare.
On Monday, Koggu sent his resignation letter through another panchayat member, who submitted it at the front office of the panchayat. The letter was backdated as February 15, said panchayat secretary Geetamani. "I don't think I can accept this resignation letter. Either he has to hand over the letter to me in person or send it as a registered post," she said.
When contacted, Koggu said he was stepping down because of personal reasons.
The CPM's Kumbla Area Committee secretary C A Zubair said Koggu's resignation has nothing to do with BJP workers' protest on Sunday. "Koggu resigned on February 15 on the direction of the party. The party had found that it was a mistake to become the chairperson of a standing committee with the support of the BJP," he said.
Zubair insisted that the resignation has nothing to do with the Kerala High Court upholding his conviction in the killing of Vinu Koipaddy.
Vinu, a BJP worker from the fisherman community, was killed on October 9, 1998.
On March 10, 2006, the Kasaragod Sessions Court found Koggu and three other CPM workers guilty of killing Vinu and sentenced them to seven years in prison.
But the Kerala High Court stayed the order when the convicts appealed against the verdict.
In January 2022, the High Court upheld their conviction but commuted the sentence to four years. Now Koggu and others have moved the Supreme Court against the high court verdict.
The Supreme Court has admitted the appeal but did not stay the high court order. So Koggu can be arrested and put in prison.
But in the meantime, Koggu was elected as a member of Kumbla panchayat in December 2020.
In the 23-member panchayat board, the BJP with nine members and the CPM with three members joined hands to corner three standing committees.
Apart from Koggu, BJP's Premalatha S was elected as the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Development, and BJP's Premavathi was elected as the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Health and Education.
The UDF with 10 members got the post of the president and the vice-president because the CPM abstained from the election.
Since December 2020, the BJP workers have been approaching their leaders to get their party out of the nexus.
With the party leadership ignoring their pleas, the workers on Sunday (February 20) locked the BJP Kasaragod Committee Office and staged a sit-in demanding the resignation of the two chairpersons and action against leaders who approved the electoral understanding.
When contacted, Premalatha said the party had not yet asked them to resign. "We will do whatever the party directs us to do," she said.
She, however, said that the decision to have an understanding with the CPM was not taken at the level of the panchayat committee. "It was a policy decision and was taken by the state leaders," she said. "So when they come up with a new direction, we will abide by it," Premalatha said.
The party workers have given them time till Thursday to step down.