Kerala: NRI’s suicide leads to crack in CPM Kannur leadership

Shaju Philip
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

The suicide of an NRI investor in CPI(M)-ruled Anthoor Municipality in Kannur seems to have led to fissures in the party’s district leadership.

Family members of the deceased, Sajan Parayail, had alleged that ego clash of CPI(M) leaders in the district led to the tragedy that Sajan took the extreme step allegedly after the municipality denied occupancy certificate for his multi-crore convention centre.

They had singled out municipal chairperson P K Shyamala, wife of CPI(M) central committee member M V Govindan, for allegedly denying the certificate on the ground that Sajan had been close to another senior leader, P Jayarajan, who had been the party’s district secretary before contesting the recent Lok Sabha polls.

READ | Kerala: Four municipal officials suspended over NRI businessman s death

Shyamala had been reportedly irked over Sajan approaching Jayarajan when the municipality denied certificate for the project.

Substantiating the churning within the party in Kannur, CPI(M) legislator James Mathew is learnt to have come out against Govindan’s interference in the issue. James, the MLA representing Taliparamba, which includes Anthoor, had taken strong exception to the delay in granting permission for the project. Sources said James had alleged in Monday’s party state committee meeting that ego clash of leaders led to the denial of sanction.

James had taken up the delay over the project with Local Administration Minister K T Jaleel, who in turn sought a report from officials.

However, Govindan is learnt to have called up the minister s private secretary following the intervention of James for speedy clearance for the project. James had disclosed this development in the meeting, sources said.

After Sajan’s death, James had visited his home in his capacity as the local legislator even as Shyamala and Govindan kept away.

The fissures over the death have pitted senior leader Jayarajan against other leaders in the party, sources said. While CPI(M) state leadership stood behind Shyamala, Jayarajan had publicly blamed Shyamala for the state of affairs in the municipality and the suicide.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also from Kannur district, had criticised Jayarajan in the Assembly two days ago when the former was replying for an adjournment motion over the suicide. Referring to Jayarajan, Pinarayi said there have been attempts to attack the party using icons.

Back in 2017, Jayarajan, who enjoys mass support in Kannur district, had been rebuked by the party for glorifying himself and thus going against Communist practices. Fan clubs had made musical videos on Jayarajan, praising him as the red star of Kannur.

On Tuesday, following Vijayan’s veiled attack on him, Jayarajan had urged social media groups to change the tiles named after PJ (abbreviation for P Jayarajan). "Party workers should not serve weapon for rivals in their social media comments, he posted on Facebook.