In hindsight, E.P. Jayarajan's exit as the Left Democratic Front government's industries minister should have happened the moment nepotism charges were out.
This would have given the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government, which had been in office for just a tad more than four months, a high moral stature.
On the contrary, what happened was that the minister first went on denial mode.
Kerala industries minister EP Jayarajan resigns
Then, as more charges saw the light of the day and the minister chose to go incommunicado, while protracted, behind-the-scene wranglings took place at the party level.
This probably gave ample scope for detractors of the CPM to go town.
The media fraternity, which has been systematically sidelined by the Pinarayi dispensation, gave vent to its perceived hurt feelings.
Since the customary Wednesday cabinet briefings are no longer held, there is barely an opportunity to pose tough questions to the CM, on a matter that has been a raging issue in the state.
While the CM himself had reportedly taken a stern view of the issue, the question remains as to how appointments in public sector undertakings can happen without the consent of the CM and without keeping the party top brass in the loop.
These questions echoed in the political landscape of the state, but no answers were forthcoming other than the customary “appropriate action would be taken at the right time” reaction emanating from the CPM central leadership in Delhi.
Nepotism row: Timeline of Pinarayi confidant EP Jayarajan's fall
It is a matter of perception, but the CPM cannot insist that the public and the media should know how its organizational machinery functions.
The media might try, but the public is not bound by the rigid hierarchical moorings that have only succeeded in alienating the party from the masses, whose interests it proclaims to protect.
In such a scenario, the CPM has only itself to blame if the nepotism row has tarnished the reputation of its fledgling ministry.
Ironically, the LDF rode to power four months back by exploiting similar political weaknesses so akin to the previous UDF dispensation.
It had then claimed that the LDF was different. Sadly, on this count, there ain't many differences between the ruling and opposition parties in Kerala.
Why should the CPM dither on keeping a minister against whom serious charges of nepotism have been leveled?
There has been no convincing answer to this.
On the contrary, had he quit, faced the probe and was proven not guilty, Jayarajan could have been easily accommodated again in the Pinarayi ministry if the CPM wished so.
This boosts the impression that it was just delaying tactics by a section of the party that backs Jayarajan to the hilt and does not show a semblance of remorse at the nepotism row that has rocked the LDF.
Comrades, this is not what is expected of the Left in the only major state in the country in which it wields considerable clout
This is unacceptable to the voters who endorsed the LDF in the assembly elections. Not done.