CPI-M move only eyewash: former Communists


Thiruvananthapuram : The suspension of Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and state party secretary Pinnarayi Vijayan from the politburo of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Saturday was termed by former communists here as an eyewash.

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"This is nothing but an eyewash and a thing that is unheard of – in which party members are suspended but allowed to retain their posts," former firebrand trade union leader V.B. Cherian, who was ousted from the CPI-M a decade back, told reporters here.

"This action is not going to solve the issues in the party which have crept up because of the deep-rooted factionalism," said Cherian.

The party have removed the two senior leaders from the politburo after they continued to trade charges with each other in public.

The simmering feud between the two has been going from bad to worse since Achuthanandan was initially denied party ticket to contest the assembly polls in April-May 2006. He was later asked not only to contest the election but also lead the party.

Achuthanandan did so in style, as the party won 98 seats in the 140-member assembly.

However, Vijayan soon exerted pressure when it came to distributing portfolios to new ministers.

After a brief lull, infighting surfaced again – now over the demolition drive targeting illegal constructions in the tourist hub of Munnar this month.

Achuthanandan did not budge even as a party faction led by Vijayan wanted changes in the special task force formed by the chief minister for the purpose.

And trouble started again this week when the two leaders held separate press conferences pointing fingers at one another just two days before they left for Delhi to attend the politburo meeting.

Appukutan Vallikunnu, former editor of CPI-M publication Deshabhimani, said that only time will tell what impact Saturday's decision will have on the party cadre at the grassroots.

"These two leaders have breached the party discipline on numerous occasions, disheartening the grassroots worker of the party. This suspension could lead to the fissures deepening in the party," said Vallikunnu, who was ousted from the party a few years back.

Political observers say the move is likely to affect Vijayan more than Achuthanandan as it remains to be seen if a suspended politburo member would be allowed to lead the party when it meets early next year to elect a new leader who would lead the organisation for the next three years.

Moreover, they see Achuthanandan as on a stronger ground as it would be difficult for the party to remove him from the chief ministership after his no-nonsense handling of the demolition drive in Munnar and the inking of the Smart City project on his own terms.

Meanwhile, the state's main opposition Congress was closely watching the developments.

"What happened today is an internal issue of the party and we will wait and see. We would react if the functioning of the government is affected on account of this," Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Oommen Chandy told IANS.