CPI-M politburo to discuss Kerala feud at special meet


Thiruvananthapuram : With the factionalism in its Kerala state unit showing no signs of abating, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is to hold a special politburo session July 4-5 in New Delhi to discuss the rift that has affected the party’s fortunes, a party source said Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan did an about-turn Tuesday, saying in the state assembly that there was nothing wrong if ministers criticised the governor.

“Ministers can criticise the governor. There is nothing wrong in it and hence there is no need to ask the ministers to quit (on that charge),” the chief minister said while participating in a debate in the assembly.

Governor R.S. Gavai early this month came under fire from a few ministers after he gave the nod to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the Rs.374-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case in which he has been named an accused.

Achuthanandan had then angered his party colleagues by saying there was nothing wrong in the governor giving his nod to prosecute Vijayan, an arch rival of the chief minister.

On Monday, the opposition disrupted the assembly proceedings, demanding that Achuthanandan either quit or sack the ministers who had spoken against Gavai.

Achuthanandan’s turnaround on the issue comes after the recent CPI-M central committee meeting during which three ministers and a few other leaders had openly criticized his functioning and said he did not defend his ministers.

The factional fight between Vijayan and Achuthanandan has cost the party dearly in the Lok Sabha polls. The CPI-M-led Left Front managed to win just four out of the Lok Sabha 20 seats from the state.

Vijayan has a brute majority in the 15-member state secretariat and 84-member state committee.

The two have been locked in a bitter turf battle. The infighting started in 2006 when Achuthanandan contested the assembly election after initially being denied a ticket. Achuthanandan then went on to become the chief minister.