K. Karunakaran often described as the kingmaker of Congress politics in Kerala has now been reduced to a political untouchable with no one willing to touch him even with a barge pole. Karunakaran, the hit man of Smt. Indira Gandhi who often boasted of having made Narasimha Rao the Prime Minister, is in an unenviable position. When Karunakaran left the Congress and formed the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) DIC(K), the CPM-led LDF aligned with him for the local body polls and the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha bypoll. The left gained immensely from the tie-up with DIC(K). Both Karunakaran and CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan wanted to extend this alliance to the Assembly polls in May 2006. But CPM stalwart and Pinarayi'scontender in the party politics V.S. Atchudanandan was dead against this move. In fact he has a five-decade history of opposing Karunakaran politically and personally, especially in corruption cases like import of palm oil. Although the CPI candidate Panyan Raveendran was the beneficiary of the LDF tie-up with DIC(K) in the Thiruvananthapuram by-poll, the state secretary Veliyam Bhargavan was not willing to accommodate Karunakaran in the LDF. Same was the stand of RSP. The fear of these two parties was that if DIC(K) enters LDF they will lose their clout as Karunakaran will dominate the second slot in the LDF, next to CPM. As a result, attacks by Karunakaran on CPI and RSP, counter-attacks by V.S., CPI and RSP on Karunakaran and Pinarayi followed. Despite opposition by V.S., Pinarayi was confident of getting the seal of approval from the politburo for his tie-up with DIC(K).
But in a move that came as a bomb-shell to Karunakaran and Pinarayi, the CPM politburo and the state committee decided against tie-ups with DIC(K). This has come as a great victory to the V.S. camp and put into question mark the political future of Karunakaran.
In the 1996 polls, V.S. was defeated in the red bastion of Mararikulam in Alapuzha district due to cross-voting by the then late Nayanar and now Pinarayi group. In 2001 polls, he had to shift to Malampuzha in Palakkad, courtesy CITU group, to gain entry into Assembly. In the state committee election also, he could barely scrape through owing to cross-voting by Pinarayi'smen. Now with strong differences in the CPM on who will occupy the Chief Minister'schair in the event of an LDF victory, there are rumours whether V.S. will get a ticket. Even if he gets a ticket it will be a repeat of 2001 to prevent his entry into the Assembly.
All said and done Karunakaran'sstrength cannot be underestimated. He has pockets of influence in several constituencies in the state. His anger will be more against the LDF than the Congress-led UDF, for having dumped him halfway. Karunakaran and UDF can still give a tough fight to the overconfident LDF. Already A.K. Antony has initiated efforts to bring back Karunakaran to the UDF.
Finally sources say that Karunakaran'sson Muraleedharan (a former Power Minister) has incriminating documents against Pinarayi Vijayan (also a Power Minister during LDF rule) in the Snc Lavlin-Kseb Rs 375 crore scam and is using it as a blackmail for a LDF-DIC(K) alliance and this is exactly the reason why Atchudanandan is opposing the alliance. My enemy'sfriend is my enemy is the guiding principle here.
tie-up to sink corrupt deals
The doshti in Delhi and kushti in Kerala have now blossomed into pyar in Kerala. The CPM-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF have united for the limited purpose of sinking all the corrupt deals indulged in, by them, when they are alternately in power.
Kerala was in political turmoil, a year back when the preliminary audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General came up on the deal between Kerala State Electricity Board and the Canadian firm Snc-Lavalin to the tune of Rs 375 crore for the renovation of Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar hydel projects. It said that Rs. 375 crore spent on the project was a sheer waste as no additional power generation was available because of the renovation. Moreover Snc-Lavalin did not pay up the Rs 100 crore they promised for the Malabar Cancer Research Centre. Interestingly the Power Minister during the period the contract was awarded to Snc-Lavalin was Pinarayi Vijayan, the present CPM state secretary and Chief Minister hopeful
Now the final report of CAG which has been placed in the Kerala Assembly has also confirmed the preliminary findings. The net result is that there is no additional power generation and that the state has lost Rs. 375 crore. The Assembly witnessed violent incidents with both the LDF and UDF trading charge. The LDF said that the initial contract to Snc-Lavalin was given by Congress Chief Minister A.K. Antony and that they only continued the deal. The Congress stand was that they only ordered a technical study by Snc-Lavalin and all financial deals took place under Nayanar and Pinarayi. The LDF traded corruption charges of several hundred crores in the Bhramapuram Diesel Power Plant and Kuttiadi Augmentation scheme. Also traded were the corruption charges of almost Rs 100 crore in World Bank-aided road projects, purchases worth crores by civil supplies corporation, a purchase worth Rs 100 crore of pollution control equipments for state PSU and a scam worth of crores in another PSU-KMML.
But in the end nothing came out. The Assembly earlier decided to discuss none of these issues but later decided on a eye-wash discussion to create a smoke-screen. Moreover, none of these scams was to be sent for investigation. This is nothing but a UDF-LDF tie-up to sink the corrupt deals indulged in by them.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and former Union Minister O. Rajagopal demanded a CBI probe into the Snc-Lavalin deal and lodging of criminal cases against politicians and officials involved. The BJP state president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai has alleged that there is a CPM-Congress pact to save Pinarayi who is the main culprit in the deal. He said that this is the single biggest corrupt deal in the history of Kerala, and that only a CBI probe will bring out the truth since foreign companies and foreign exchange remittances are involved. He also alleged that he has documentary evidence to prove that Rs 90 crore were paid as commission to a source in Kozhikode via Dubai. He said he is ready to submit the documents to the investigative agencies. He further alleged that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has joined hands with Pinarayi to save him.
Congress wooing jehadis
Jawaharlal Nehru once described the Muslim League as a dead horse, but the Congress in Kerala has been allying with the same Muslim League for the past four decades. While the CPM under E.M.S gave an exclusive district to the Muslims, the Congress has the distinction of making a League man Chief Minister-C.H. Mohamed Koya.
Apart from the Muslim League the Congress is in the process of placating various fringe extremist and jehadi groups like Kanthapuram, NDF, PDP, etc. with an eye on the elections. Investigation into several cases of violence by NDF/PDP like Marad massacre, Tamil Nadu bus burning, blasts at a boat in Beypore and haul of gelatine sticks at Kozhikode, etc. are moving at snail'space. There are efforts on the part of police department which is handled by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, to sink the evidence and scuttle the probe. The dark hands of the IUML are also behind this.
Also based on the Narendran Commission'srecommendations, the Kerala Government Service Rules are going to be amended to ensure adequate reservation for Muslims and to fill up the backlog of shortages of Muslims in various posts. The first to welcome this move was the extremist NDF.
Now in a shocking move, the Pradesh Congress President Ramesh Chennithala went to the Markaz at Kozhikode and had deliberations for one hour with Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliyar. He described it as Congress'smove to take all communities into confidence. In fact the Musaliyar is a murder accused in a case relating to the murder of a Muslim liberal scholar Chekkanur Moulavi.
The Congress is also wooing the Christian community by giving thousands of acres of revenue land and forest land as patta to Christian encroachers who have settled in forest lands. Recently the Cardamom Hills reserve land which act as a buffer forest land was classified as cardamom plantation to enable it to be handed to encroachers. The main occupation of these encroachers is ganja cultivation and Kerala is a main conduit of drugs in the international market.
The Congress craze for power is ruining the state with the people at the mercy of jehadi extremists, illicit liquor lobby, drug lobby, sex lobby, timber lobby, etc.
CPM-CPI war hots up
With elections fast approaching the political situation in Kerala is getting more fluid. The CPM-led LDF which till recently presented a well-knit entity is showing deep divisions putting into question the very existence of the left alliance till the polls. Although the V.S. Atchudanandan-Pinarayi Vijayan spat is well known, what is more interesting is the war of words between Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI state secretary Veliyam Bhargavan.
The differences between Veliyam and Pinarayi on Karunakaran'sentry into LDF is public. But what is new is Veliyam'scomments on the CPM'sPinarayi-led Kerala march. Veliyam Bhargavan while inaugurating a march by the CPI assistant secretary K.E. Ismail commented that the ?Pinarayi march? was ostentatious and that crores were spent on the march. He further added that the amounts spent by the CPM were ill-gotten money. Moreover taking a dig at Pinarayi, he said that CPM had intelligent and un-intelligent leaders.
Pinarayi hit back at Veliyam saying that his comments were unbecoming of a senior communist leader and that he was using the language of the enemies of the left. He said that the CPM had spent lakhs for the victory of the CPI candidate in the Thiruvananthapuram by-poll, and would Veliyam also call it ill-gotten money? He asked Veliyam not to be jelous of the mass base of the CPM.
There are also reports that Pinarayi'sdesire for a tie-up with Karunakaran is to show V.S. and the CPI their place. With Karunakaran'sclout, Pinarayi plans to defect several V.S. camp and CPI candidates. Thus, Pinarayi hegemony on the CPM and LDF will be complete.