CPM polit bureau, divided on the V S Achuthanandan-Pinarayi Vijayan war in Kerala, has left it to the party’s central committee to take a decision on the issue.
The 87-memver central committee, which also includes those in polit bureau, is slated to meet in New Delhi this week end to decided on the ongoing war between Kerala chief minister Achuthanandan and CPM state secretary Vijayan that is seen as a major cause of party’s dribbing in the state.
Avoiding the responsibility of taking a stand on the disputed issue, the 15-member polit bureau, which also comprises of the fighting duo, decided to hold a meeting of the party’s central committee on July 11-12 “to consider” its “proposals …regarding the party affairs in Kerala”.
It may be mentioned that in last meeting of central committee held at the end of June, there was strong demands for Achuthanandan’s resignation from his ministerial colleagues, Thomas Isaac, M A Baby, and others in the Vijayan camp. Also, the Kerala CM has also insisted on Vijayan’s resignation from the rank of state secretary for his alleged role in SNC Lavalin graft case.
The two-day polit bureau meeting, concluded just now, was merely a re-enactment of these positions with pressure groups for and against the two Kerala players coming out with their points of view. According to sources, party general secretary Prakash Karat was of the view of taking action against Achuthanandan, who has refused to toe the party line on denouncing the SNC Lavalin scam as being politically motivated.
On the contrary, those who are supporting Achuthanandan said that it would not serve purpose to target the CM alone, who is viewed as the most popular CPM leader in Kerala and taking action against him is likely to upset CPM supporters
Polit bureau members Sitaram Yechury, M K Pandhe and Manik Sarkar spoke of reviewing the stand on the Lavalin corruption case. They were in favour of going through the Lavalin case once again despite the central committee’s earlier assertion that the party would fight the case “politically and legally”.
Interestingly, Karat, when questioned about the corruption case after last central committee meeting in June, underscored the party decision to fight the Lavalin case. However, a section of CPM has spoken out about the case as having the dented the party’s image, describing it as another reason for the poor electoral showing in the general elections.
With the polit bureau unable to come to any conclusion on the Kerala issue, the central committee has three options. It could take action against both leaders asking them to step down from their respective posts; it could ask Mr Vijayan to resign ‘voluntarily’ in the wake of the case against him and in time announce plans to replace Mr Achuthanandan; or it could plumb for maintaining status quo. The last scenario would leave the party vulnerable to defeat in the 2011 assembly elections when it also needs to defend its West Bengal title from Trinamool Congress.
The central committee’s decision on the matter could well shape the way the Kerala CPM holds up to competition from the Congress . Like it did in 2007, the party might, this time round, find it difficult to stop with suspending both leaders from the polit bureau for breach of discipline.