Monday, February 16, 2009

Storm in Kerala CPI(M) unlikely to subside

Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): The long-drawn feud in the Kerala CPI(M) is unlikely to subside with the party Polit Bureau rejecting firmly Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan's demand for removal of his arch foe Pinarayi Vijayan as state unit Secretary in the wake of the CBI's move to prosecute him in the SNC Lavalin corruption case.

Though both sides may refrain from engaging in open clashes till the Parliament elections are over, indications are clear that a lasting patch-up between the two top leaders is a remote possibility, political observers said.

This has become amply clear from Achuthanandan's statement on Sunday morning that he would continue his "battles against corruption" as he had always done. In a sharp but cleverly-worded comment, he only cited the cases of corruption when the state was under the Congress- led UDF rule, which he took up and campaigned as an Opposition Leader.

The message was obvious that he was not going to be contained or silenced by the 's rejection of his position in the Lavalin case also. The Polit Bureau's reiteration that the CBI had acted under duress from the Congress in the Lavalin case is seen as a victory for it by the Vijayan camp. This was evident from Vijayan's words, when he met media persons in Kochi on Sunday morning.

A calm and composed Vijayan appeared extremely cautious in his choice of words and turn of phrases while fielding even the most provocative questions from the journalists. But he did not mince words when he stated that the fight against corruption that Achuthanandan had mentioned were campaigns "collectively" decided by the party and not a one man's battle fought by his senior colleague.

The message implied was that Achuthanandan was not above the party, and whatever decision collectively taken by the party was binding on him as well.

According to sources in the Vijayan camp, Achuthanandan's assertion that he would continue his fight against corruption was meant to console his supporters in the ranks who would be disappointed to see their hero meekly submitting for the sake of his position as Chief Minister.

Though the 85-year-old Marxist veteran has largely been constrained from talking openly, his supporters in the ranks, including those rebels who had come out recently in different parts of the state, would continue to harp on issues like Lavalin to the irritation of the leadership.

The question, being debated in political circles now, is whether Achuthanandan would share podium with Vijayan when the latter's 'Nava Kerala March' concludes in the state capital on February 25.

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