Although there was groupism in the CPM even during the times of comrade EMS, between the Nayanar-Pinarayi axis of north Kerala and V.S. of south Kerala, the Party was able to tide over it, due to the overbearing stature of EMS and his larger than life image. Since EMS gave strong ideological moorings to his political decisions, the party was able to withstand the exit of legendary stalwarts like K.P.R. Gopalan, K.R. Gowri and lastly M.V. Raghavan, the Kannur strongman. Due to EMS'sstature, charisma and commitment, both V.S. and Nayanar did not have the guts to ignore him. Even when V.S. Atchudanandan was defeated due to the machinations of the Kannur lobby (Nayanar, Kodiyeri & Pinarayi), in the CPM red fort of Mararikulam in 1996, to prevent his becoming Chief Minister, EMS was able to retain him in the party by making him State Secretary. But with the death of E.M.S. and a moderate Nayanar, the group war has intensified.
V.S. Atchudanandan despite being a hard-core and a Stalinist, took up various issues affecting the people like sale of Kovalam Palace to a private hotelier, sandalwood mafia at Marayoor, Mullaperiyar dam issue, sale of girls and sex mafia, land mafia, liquor mafia. This endeared him to the masses, despite his rigid and non-pragmatic approach on undiluted communism. Pinarayi Vijayan, the State Secretary is the anti-thesis of all what V.S. and old-guard commies stand for. His opulent life style percolated into the CPM and the party has now the wealthiest commercial empire in Kerala with assets ranging almost Rs. 5,000 crore with interests ranging from high rise luxurious flats, a state-of-the art TV channel, newspaper, magazines, and what not, an aqua-based amusement park and a tourist resort!
When Pinarayi, who was nursing hopes of becoming Chief Minister, denied seat to V.S., the people of Kerala poured into the streets to register their protest. The Politburo and Pinarayi had to retreat against the mass upsurge and V.S. was given the Malampuzha seat. Even after the LDF won, which was essentially a vote for V.S. as C.M. Pinarayi tried his level best to scuttle V.S.'schances, but fearing public anger PB and Prakash Karat said no.
During the past eight months of LDF rule nothing has taken place due to the constant infighting between V.S. and Pinarayi groups and infighting between CPM and other constituents like CPI and RSP, etc. The LDF has been moving from one controversy to another. Fighting over Vigilance Portfolio between V.S. and Pinarayi'sright hand Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, misbehaviour of Minister P.J. Joseph against woman passenger in a flight, refurbishment of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan'sBungalow for Rs. 17 lakh, fight between CPM and CPI over appointment of Vice-chancellor to university, self-financing professional colleges Fiasco, stranding of Prime Minister in a city bye-lane, Chikungunya deaths and ineffective handling by Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi, the raid on fake CDs etc. etc. The refusal of V.S. to succumb to Pinarayi, has led to the existence of two power centres, operating from the Government Secretariat and CPM headquarters AKG centre. Also the helplessness of V.S. is that his entire team of CPM ministers, except may be one or two, belong to the Pinarayi camp. There is no collective responsibility and ministers like Thomas Issac and Paloli Mohammedkutty contradict V.S.
After consolidating his hold over the Government, by making V.S. a mere puppet, Pinarayi'sstrategy is to have total control over the party by eliminating all pro V.S. elements. This was started even prior to polls in April 2006, when the entire V.S. panel was defeated at the Malappuram State Conference and V.S. barely scraped through. Later eight districts were in the control of Pinarayi and six with V.S.. When the CPM Alapuzha district secretary died, Pinarayi nominated veteran C.K. Chandrananadan, a V.S. baiter to that post. Moreover four V.S. men where sacked and Pinarayi men were nominated to the district committee. Thus V.S. has lost control of his home turf of Alapuzha district. Now only five Southern districts remain loyal to V.S. and it is a matter of time, before it goes to Pinarayi. Also in feeder organisations like CITU, DYFI, SFI, AIDWA, KARSHAKA SANGAM etc. pro V.S. elements have been purged out. There are strong signals that V.S. may be eased out and pro Pinarayi man made Chief Minister.
In order to retain his position, Chief Minister V.S. has raked up the ADB loan and SNC-LAVLIN scam to get one up above Pinarayi.
The Local Self Government department handled by pro-Pinarayi Minister Paloli Mohammedkutty had given clearance for signing of agreement with ADB for taking loan of Rs. 1,061 crore for urban development programmes under the area ruled by the five CPM led municipal corporations. While Paloli Finance Minister, Thomas Issac and Pinarayi say that, this was discussed in LDF, CPM Secretariat and Cabinet, V.S. says that he was not aware of the decision. V.S. has hit out against the pro-Pinarayi ministers and asked them to correct their stand since the ADB loan carries certain clauses which are anti-people. This issue was discussed by PB and both camps stuck to their stand. The PB has referred it back to State Committee for final discussions. Contrary to the earlier CPM stand, Prakash Karat justified the ADB loan, saying West Bengal has taken almost Rs. 3,000 crore, but in an apparent dig at Pinarayi, he said the loan terms should be transparent and convincing to the people of Kerala. Pinarayi'sDYFI had earlier opposed ADB loan and attacked their team and offices, and how turnaround came to Pinarayi, is another question. CPM ideologue from JNU and Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Board Prabhat Patnaik has also opposed ADB loan under present terms.
V.S. has also raked up the SNC-LAVLIN scam linked to the upgradation of the Pallivasal, Panniar, Senkulam power plants to the tune of Rs. 370 crore, during the term of Pinarayi as Power Minister in 1996-2001 period. The earlier UDF regime refereed it, to vigilance for investigation due to a PIL. CBI was asked to investigate. Due to CPM, Karat and Pinarayi manipulations at Delhi, CBI refused investigation. Now in a severe slap to Pinarayi, the Kerala High Court has called for the entire files and asked Kerala government, why it is shy of CBI probe. Now V.S. will be only too happy to handover the probe to CBI as it is linked to his bete noire.
Angry at V.S.'sstand on ADB and SNC-LAVLIN, Pinarayi has dared to tame the lion in his den. 22 supporters of V.S. were expelled from the party in Mararikulam and Mohamma including Panchayat President Mangalamma and V.S.'spersonal staff, Latheesh, since they organised pro V.S. rallies, when he was denied seat. The V.S. group protested by burning Pinarayi'seffigy and shouting obscene slogans. Latheesh'sfather was brutally attacked by Pinarayi supporters. A tense situation is prevailing in that area due to V.S.?Pinarayi group clashes. Added to that V.S. supporter N.N. Krishnadas, MP, was demoted since he exposed a scam by Pinarayi Minister, A.K. Balan.
Finally in a candid acknowledgment of group wars in the Kerala CPM, a frustrated Prakash Karat had to admit that the party and Government were moving in two directions (i.e. V.S. and Pinarayi) and that the rift was affecting the image of CPM and LDF. He also gave a jolt to Pinarayi and his ministers by saying that V.S. should never be bye-passed.
Open street fights, burning of effigies, blocking of ministers by own men has seriously eroded the credibility of CPM as a cadre based mass party. The LDF has been unable to tackle the major problems of Kerala like unemployment, chaos in education / health sector, deteriorating law and order, activities of financing, drug, liquor, sand, sandal and sex mafia, crisis in the agriculture, tourism, industry sector etc. etc. and last but not least the growing threat of jehadi extremism, taking strong roots.
The CPM has even forgotten EMS and Nayanar in their present avatar of enjoying power. A temple of Lord Shiva in EMS'sancestral property in Malappuram has been closed due to a fight between the CPM led temple committee and CITU led temple employees committee. Moreover E.K. Nayanar'sdaughter Sudha, who is working in the party paper Deshabhimani is being constantly humiliated and harassed, since the local bosses belong to the Pinarayi camp. EMS'sdaughter and son are also being subjected to humiliations and harassment.
If events continue like this, there is going to be a split in the Kerala CPM and V.S. may go the T.J. Angelose way, who went to the CPI when the CPM expelled him from Alapuzha committee due to his growing popularity and his closeness to V.S. Let us wait and watch, the collapse of the CPM, which took the State backwards by almost fifty years and killed scores of RSS brave-hearts.