Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kerala CM attends Vijayan-led rally

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The apparent battle of wits within the CPM in Kerala that prevailed during the party’s Nava Kerala

Yatra appeared to end in favour of party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan today.

Chief minister V S Achuthanandan, who had unswervingly refused to be part of the rally, succumbed this evening, apparently

following some pep talk by coalition partners and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, and turned up for the concluding session of

the rally here this evening.

That was a huge reversal of his stand not to be part of the rally, seemingly because he did not like the idea of Mr Vijayan, whose

name has been linked to alleged corruption in the SNC Lavalin case, leading the yatra.

Through the more than three weeks that the rally took to wind its way from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram, the groups seen to be

supporting the CM and the party state secretary seemed to be playing a cat-and-mouse game, with the VS camp not confirming the

CM’s participation in the rally and the Vijayan camp reiterating that all party members would attend the yatra.

That stand-off appeared to culminate in an anti-climax today as the CM took the dais on the concluding event of the rally, perhaps

disappointing his fans within the party cadres and outside.

The avowed objectives of the yatra were “India’s security and Kerala’s prosperity”, but what was in focus all through were divisive

vibes among cadres and an ugly incident of a chappal being hurled at the rally at Payyannur, besides publicity boards of the rally

being destroyed at different parts of the state.

Political observers here say that the CM may have decided to drop his hardline stand and attend the rally in view of the forthcoming

Lok Sabha polls, the result of which could also be seen as an appraisal of his government’s performance in the state.

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