Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the CPM Kerala secretary and the number two in the party after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, stepped down from his post citing health issues. A Vijayaraghavan, the convenor of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), has been given temporary charge.
The party said in a statement that Balakrishnan had applied for leave citing medical treatment which the state secretariat allowed. The top CPM leader had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and had sought treatment in the US. However, at that time, he had not stepped down from his post. It is not clear how long Balakrishnan will stay away from party affairs.
Balakrishnan’s step-down from the top party post comes in the wake of his younger son Bineesh Kodiyeri being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on charges of funding illegal activities in a narcotics case in Bengaluru. Earlier this week, he was remanded in judicial custody till November 25 after the special court rejected his bail application.
The shake-up within the CPM also comes ahead of crucial elections to 1200 local bodies scheduled in December, considered a semi-final before the Assembly elections next year.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines