Thiruvananthapuram: First the CPI made forest minister K Raju apologise in public for flying to Germany in the time of floods.
Now, with the clear intention of further shaming the minister short of expelling him and suspending him from party units, the party state secretary has issued a public censure.
The need to publicly censure Raju was taken at the CPI state executive meeting here on Tuesday.
Besides censuring Raju, the CPI did more to make up for its embarrassment. The party has prohibited its ministers from going on foreign jaunts. “They can, only if it is official,” CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said.
''Ministers are appointed to do work here,'' he added.
Also read: Kerala floods | Before and After
The secretary was blunt in his assessment. “Raju's decision to travel to Germany while the state was facing its worst ever natural disaster was wrong,” he said. This was also the consensus at the state executive.
The sentence of 'public censure' was delivered by the executive after examining the response to the 'show cause' slapped on Raju after his return from Germany.
The minister had said that he was not aware of the severity of the situation when he left on August 16.
However, a top CPI source said that members referred to the Independence Day speech made by the minister in which he speaks with so much concern for the gravity of the situation.
Further, the CPI leadership was of the view that August 16 was the third day of the crisis.
“By then most of the dams were opened,” the source said.
Raju was also deputed by the chief minister to coordinate rescue efforts in Kottayam, one of districts that was severly hit. Raju's explanation that he had handed over charge to civil supplies minister P Thilothaman was dumped by Thilothaman himself.
Nonetheless, Kanam Rajendran pointed out that the minister had obtained all the mandatory permissions - from the party, the chief minister and the ministry of external affairs - before attending the World Malayali Federation event in Germany. “But all that was before the crisis hit the state. Going at such a time - on August 16 morning - was highly inappropriate. He should have thought of it,” Rajendran said.
In fact, it was the party that had instructed Raju to return once the news broke of his flight. On his return, Raju was promptly asked by the CPI to file a written explanation.
'Public censure' is one of six disciplinary actions in the CPI's penal repertoire. The first is 'warning.' Increasing in degrees, next comes 'censure' followed by 'public censure,' 'suspension from party factions, suspension from the party itself, and finally, 'expulsion' from the party.
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