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Kerala CPM is in a bind



It is now pretty much routine for the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPM for short, to trip over its tallest leader in Kerala and the current opposition leader, V.S. Achuthanandan's actions, which often run athwart the official stand.

He was expelled from the politburo following his open spar with state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan and his stance on the SNC Lavalin case in which Vijayan had been an accused party. Now V.S. Achuthanandan, popularly known as VS, runs the risk of being turfed out from the party's central committee as well.

The central leadership of the party cannot afford to take any punitive action against its most popular leader in the state. Nor can it tolerate his habit of taking stances that go against the party line. The word is now out that VS will be let off till the parliamentary election is over, owing to the considerable sway he has over the people of the state.

The latest row concerns VS's letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asking for an appropriate inquiry into the demands of K.K. Rama, murdered T.P. Chandrasekharan's widow.  She was on a hunger strike in front of the secretariat demanding a CBI probe into the alleged conspiracy of the CPM leadership in the murder โ€” executed by a quotation gang โ€”of her husband though the culprits were already sentenced to life imprisonment.

CPM has been on denial mode despite the fact that there are party functionaries among the convicts.
The media in general focused more on Rama's fast than on Pinaryi Vijayan's 'Save Kerala March' which was held concurrently.

CPM leadership has all along been stridently opposing a CBI probe into the conspiracy angle on the plea that the verdict has already been out. Rama says the gangsters who killed her husband had no enmity whatsoever towards her husband.

She alleges that it was a murder planned by party's leadership to stop the meteoric rise and spread of Chandrasekharan's RMP which had defeated CPM in local polls in the Onjiam area. It may be recalled that VS visited Rama to comfort her at her house in Onjiam at a time when a bypoll was in progress in Neyyattumkara.

The party was of the view that the visit of VS to Rama's house had contributed to the party's defeat at the hands of a rebel candidate.

VS has always been of the view that the real culprits behind the murder of TP, a Marxist rebel, should be exposed. He was banned by the party from backing Rama's demand for a CBI probe. But VS outsmarted the party by shooting off a missive to the chief minister supporting Rama's demands though not mentioning about a CBI probe, but instead asking for a detailed probe, noting that alleged international gold smuggler T.K. Fayaz visited the convicts in jail.

By mentioning Fayaz's visit to the inmates, VS has brought an international touch to the whole conspiracy angle and influx of funds to carry out crimes, something which requires a CBI or NIA probe. Such a probe, he knows, is likely to reach the top echelons of the party.

Without doubt, the letter must have caused a certain schadenfreude in the Congress camp which had been hesitant to hand over the case to the CBI just because Rama had demanded, especially when the verdict had already been out.

The UDF government immediately issued a statement to the effect that it accepted Rama's demand for a CBI probe in principle, especially when the leader of the opposition had asked for a probe to get to the bottom of Fayaz's visit. TV channels have shown clips of Fayaz visiting the clink.

CPM's consistent argument that it had had no role in the TP murder had been debunked by the court which said that the motive for the murder was political animosity. Why should the party spend oodles of money to conduct the trial for the murderers if it had not have any role in the murder, asks Rama.

When there was an allegation that some culprits were manhandled by the jail authorities, CPM leaders, including politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, rushed to the jail to defend them. On top of that, CPM legislators were in uproar in the assembly over the incident alleging violation of human rights. Rama and others ask when TP was brutally murdered where were the so-called proponents of
human rights?

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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