Achuthanandan under fire at CPI-M state conference


Kottayam (Kerala) : The divisions in Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have only grown sharper. At the state conference, many of the 500 odd delegates backed secretary Pinarayi Vijayan against Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

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The chief minister and the CPI-M politburo that has been supporting him came under fire Tuesday from a majority of the speakers at the meet here Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first day of the discussion on the working report of the party presented by CPI-M state secretary Vijayan, who has the backing of most of the 561 delegates and who are known as the “official faction”.

That Achuthanandan was in trouble became stark when only nine of the 53 speakers responding to the report spoke in support of him. A total of 38 delegates Tuesday launched a fierce attack on Achuthanandan and how the politburo has been supporting him.

The speakers said if Achuthanandan did not change his style of functioning, he should be asked to leave. Otherwise the Left government would be unable to face the electorate in any forthcoming election.

The few delegates attached to the Achuthanandan group said the party was not allowing him to function properly.

After the few remaining delegates speak Wednesday, there would be a meeting of the available politburo members to prepare a reply to the discussion. Vijayan’s response and that of CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat would be crucial.

The clincher would be Thursday, the concluding day of the four-day conference, when a decision is made on how the party state committee of around 80 members is chosen.

This is usually a unanimous exercise. But at the last conference at Malappuram in 2004, Achuthanandan insisted on his own candidates, necessitating an election. It proved disastrous, with only 20 of his supporters getting elected.

The bitter differences within the party resulted in CPI-M politburo issuing a special guideline for the just concluded organisational elections in the state.