Fallen star
THE WEEK|April 25, 2021
With K.T. Jaleel forced to step down as minister, the Pinarayi Vijayan government suffers a big blow at the fag end of its term
CITHARA PAUL

HE IS THE “face of the left front” in Kerala’s Malappuram district, and the “face of Muslims” in the ruling left front. He is K.T. Jaleel, who till recently was minister for higher education and minority welfare, and the CPI(M)’s personal-cum-political bridge into the Muslim heartland. But with corruption charges having forced him to step down, he has fallen from grace.

On April 9, the lokayukta in Kerala held Jaleel guilty of nepotism and abuse of power. The verdict came on a complaint that alleged that Jaleel had unlawfully appointed a close relative as general manager at the state-run Minorities Finance Development Corporation (MFDC). As pressure mounted on him to resign, Jaleel moved Kerala High Court to obtain a stay on the lokayukta’s verdict. But on April 13, even as the court was considering his plea, he announced that he was stepping down as minister. “The anti-left coalition in the state can kill me; but they cannot defeat me,” he posted on social media after announcing his decision.

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