The Kerala Chief Minister and politburo member of the CPI-M VS Achuthanandan is almost on his way out from the CPI-M if the indications from him and his bitter rival and the party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan are to be observed closely. The Chief Minister and the party secretary were at loggerheads for the past several years and Pinarayi Vijayan has successfully emerged as the most powerful leader of the CPI-M in Kerala for the past few years cutting to size Achuthanandan who had infact promoted Vijayan into the higher echelons of CPI-M power ladder.
Vijayan while addressing press persons during his yatra in Taliparamba in Kannuar district specifically stated that those who are in the party are taking part in the yatra which is seen by political pundits and the people as a clean reply to Achuthanandan'sstatements that he would not participate in the yatra. Sources in the CPI-M told this correspondent that the preparations for the expulsion of Achuthanandan has already begun in the CPI-M official faction with a section of the leaders totally getting involved themselves in drafting charges against the Chief Minister to present their case before the politburo when it meets in Delhi on February 14th. There are indications that the official faction would not settle for anything less than the removal of Achuthanandan from the party.
The CPI-M politburo is already in a soup for having come out with statements defending the party secretary and announcing in press statements that the CBI charge-sheet on Vijayan is a political conspiracy on the part of the Congress party to frame the CPI-M leader in the run up to the general elections. There are already criticisms from within the senior leaders of the party that the CPI-M politburo should not have taken such a decision in haste without taking proper legal opinion. Achuthanandan is also banking on this factor and is trying to project himself as a person who is standing for high ideals, but with the massive majority enjoyed by the official faction in the state party there is nothing much left for the party leadership other than expel Achuthanandan.
It may be recalled that the present feud started when the CBI charge-sheeted Pinarayi Vijayan as the ninth accused in the 374.5 crore rupee SNC Lavelin case related to the maintenance of the hydro electric projects at Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniyar . Pinarayi Vijayan was the state electricity minister in the EK Nayanar Cabinet during 1996 when the incidents related to the case took place. The previous UDF government had on the last day of its office referred the case to the CBI and the CPI-M had retorted sharply to the government decision.
Sources in the CPI-M told this reporter that the Chief Minister had categorically told the party general secretary that he would not be able to defend the party secretary and wanted Vijayan to be removed off all the party posts. As Pinarayi Vijayan is enjoying a massive majority in the party with almost all the party district committees supporting him, the party general secretary was reluctant to accept the proposal put forward by Achuthanandan. Chief Minister Achuthanandan has also told the press persons in a post Cabinet brief that he would abide by the Constitution and this increased the ire of the party leadership. Achuthanandan replied in the negative when asked whether he would take part in the yatra undertaken by the party secretary. This in itself is seen as gross indiscipline in a party like the CPI-M and the party secretary angrily retorted that nothing would happen to the yatra if Achuthanandan does not take part in it. Achuthanandan, met the press in Delhi and said that more than an ordinary party person he is an elected Chief Minister and that he would take decisions only on the basis of his constitutional post. This is a clear indication that he would not budge and that there is no going back for him. The CPI-M official faction leaders have already started clamouring for the blood of Achuthanandan and the party central committee member and a powerful leader EP Jayarajan has said that the party would stand by Pinarayi Vijayan whatever the cost is.
The CPI-M politburo is meeting on February 14th and 15th in Delhi and indications are that Vijayan would also take part in the meeting skipping the yatra and this meeting gains importance with sources in the party indicating that there is no climb down for the beleaguered Chief Minister other than his resignation.
But there are indications that all is not well for the CPI-M among its support base with several fringe groups emerging from within the party in all parts of the State with the SFI, the student body having felt the ping. There were several instances in many parts of the State from a section of the SFI to move away from the official line and the students were even bold enough to burn the effigy of the CPI-M ideologue KEN Kunhahamed for having spoken against Achuthanandan. A section of the students have already floated the Progressive Students Federation breaking away from the SFI in colleges like Sree Kerala Varma and Sree Krishna in Thrissur district. A student from the break away SFI has already won a seat in Government College Madapally in Vatakara giving shock waves to the SFI and CPI-M official camp as this college is considered as a Red bastion for the past two decades.
The recent upset victory of the expelled CPI-M leader MR Murali and his colleagues in the by-elections to the Shoranur municipality and the upset victory of Dhyanasuthan against the CPI-M official nominee in Ambalapuzha block elections is also seen as under currents shaping up in the party throughout the State. More than anything else the formation of a rebel outfit in Onchiyam in Vadakara is considered as a major shock to the CPI-M as this was the place which is etched in the communist history of the State for its farm revolution.
Finally it seems that the Red fort is cracking in the State and a political observer jokingly remarked that the Kerala CPI-M is having the fate of the Yadava clan in Mahabharatha which destroyed themselves by fighting amongst each other.