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CPI(M) Polit Bureau action a strong message

Saturday 26 May 2007, by NAIR*C. Gouridasan

Special Correspondent

Decision the culmination of a train of events in the Kerala unit over the last three years

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has sent a strong and unequivocal message to the party’s leaders, cadres and the people of Kerala with its unprecedented decision to suspend simultaneously, and in a seemingly even-handed manner, V.S. Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan from the Polit Bureau.

The Polit Bureau decision, subject to review by the Central Committee, will not immediately affect the positions they hold, Chief Minister and State secretary respectively, but it is a major turn in the history of the CPI(M) in Kerala.

What the CPI(M) Polit Bureau has tried to communicate to all concerned is that it would not allow the party to be caught in a complex web of factional pulls and pressures or let any differences between State party leaders to result in the frittering away of the massive mandate that the people of Kerala gave the CPI(M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in 2006. It also speaks volumes for the difference between the CPI(M) and many other parties, national and regional, which have seldom been able to act decisively to end factionalism.

Immediate cause

The immediate cause for the Polit Bureau decision are certain remarks made by Mr. Achuthanandan and Mr. Vijayan against each other.

Mr. Achuthanandan is reported to have implied, while replying to a question at a press briefing following a Cabinet meeting last week, that Mr. Vijayan was also responsible for leaking party-related information to the media.

When asked about it at a news conference later in the day, Mr. Vijayan remarked that it was not proper on the part of Mr. Achuthanandan, his fellow Polit Bureau member, to have put him under a cloud of doubt.

Differences

But the Polit Bureau decision to suspend them is actually the culmination of a train of events over the last three years. Mr. Achuthanandan, who is 84, and Mr. Vijayan, who is 63, have had their differences over a host of issues, although none of it is really ideological. Mr. Achuthanandan’s habit of going after issues as `a one-man army,’ and his campaigns over various issues, which happened to receive wide media attrention in Kerala, were not to the liking of many in the party. In fact, there has been an allegation among some sections in the party that he was growing too big for the party.

Such reservations did not come out in the open till a section of the CPI(M) tried to induct the erstwhile Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) into the LDF. Mr. Achuthanandan was strongly opposed to the idea and came out openly against it. The matter went up to the Polit Bureau and it instructed the State party not to go ahead with the move.

The differences came to the fore once again when the question of selecting candidates for the 2006 Assembly elections came up: Mr. Achuthanandan’s name did not even figure in the list of candidates. Demonstrations and widespread resentment over what was seen as an attempt to sideline Mr. Achuthanandan resulted in the Polit Bureau taking the unprecedented decision of asking the State Committee to review the list and include Mr. Achuthanandan’s name. Mr. Achuthanandan’s entry into the fray had an electrifying effect on the cadres and the wider public. Prdictably, the LDF was hoisted to power with a massive majority.

Uneasy equation

The uneasy equation between the two sides was in evidence in portfolio allocation and later decisions relating to availing of a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the local bodies and the ongoing demolitions of structures on encroached government land in Munnar. The Polit Bureau has been making calibrated interventions on all occasions when the differences between leaders in Kerala appeared to go out of hand. It has now decided to act firmly and the message is loud and clear: it is the party that matters and not individuals.

Commitment

Political observers point out that the CPI(M) leadership has never hesitated to initiate action against its own leaders when warranted. Not even as tall a leader as E.M.S. Namboodiripad, who led the world’s first Communist Government in Kerala way back in 1957, was immune to the party’s commitment to discipline.

The Polit Bureau’s latest decision is, thus, in keeping with a long tradition of firm interventions whenever needed. And the party has shown time and again that it has the internal strength to absorb the repercussions of such actions.

For that every reason, there may be little in the Polit Bureau decision for the detractors of the CPI(M) to gloat over, the observers say.

See online : The Hindu

P.S.

Text of the Polit Bureau resolution

This is the text of the Polit Bureau Resolution suspending two of its members:

"The Polit Bureau discussed the conduct of the two Polit Bureau members — Com. V.S. Achuthanandan and Com. Pinarayi Vijayan - in making certain remarks to the media. Both of them have made remarks and criticisms regarding each other to the media.

"These remarks and open criticism by the two senior leaders in Kerala have violated the norms of the Party and the clear directive of the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee that the State Party leadership should not air their differences publicly.

"The Polit Bureau concluded that such behaviour is unacceptable from members of the Polit Bureau and action should be taken. The Polit Bureau decided to suspend V. S. Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan from the Polit Bureau and place the matter before the Central Committee for its consideration. The two comrades will continue to discharge all their other Party responsibilities.

"All other matters pertaining to the Kerala unit of the Party will be discussed by the Polit Bureau with the Kerala State Committee.’’ Prakash Karat, General Secretary

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