By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A polite but firm message to the Kerala unit of the CPI(M) from general secretary Sitaram Yechury; a public rebuff of Kannur CPI(M) secretary, P. Jayarajan; and an open expression of warmth towards Kerala Congress(M) chief K M Mani by CPI(M) leaders, EP Jayarajan and A Vijayaraghavan. These were the highlights of the first day of the CPI(M)’s State conference.
First, the public dressing down of Kannur strongman, P. Jayarajan by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. It was a sight which must have gladdened the hearts of CPI(M)’s detractors. Both Pinarayi and Kodiyeri were seen taking Jayarajan aside, on the sidelines of the conference, and subjecting him to what visibly was a tongue-lashing.
The top two CPI(M) leaders are unhappy about Jayarajan’s statement against the state police, under the direct control of the CM. Also, they seem to have conveyed their displeasure over the reported involvement of CPI(M) workers in the murder of Youth Congress worker, Shuhaib. Jayarajan was firmly told to prevent the cadres from indulging in politics of murder and intimidation against political opponents.
It may be mentioned that Jayarajan had initially denied involvement of CPI(M) workers in the murder. But the subsequent arrest of two party workers disproved his claim. He then went on record that the party would initiate an enquiry on its own and take action based on its findings. This drew a sharp retort from Kodiyeri. Investigation of murders was not the job of the party. That was for the police to do, retorted Kodiyeri. But the big question is: whether the public censure would have any effect on Jayarajan who has already incurred the wrath of State CPI(M) leadership over what they termed as his attempts at ‘self-glorification’. Obviously, neither Pinarayi nor Kodiyeri want Jayarajan to become too strong in CPI(M) politics. The public rebuke was a well-planned attempt to cut Jayarajan to size.
It is time to have a closer look at Yechury’s strong message to the Kerala unit while inaugurating the State conference. The CPI(M) general secretary made it clear that the last word on an understanding with the Congress in the fight against BJP has not been said. The draft resolution is a mere draft. The final decision will be taken by the party congress to be held in April. While an open alliance with the Congress is ruled out, there can be local-level adjustments to prevent the division of anti-BJP votes. That was the clear message from Yechury. That he chose to deliver the message at the state conference of the Kerala unit, which had vehemently opposed his line for an adjustment with the Congress, is significant.
No less important is the fact that Yechury concentrated more on attacking the RSS-BJP combination. The paramount need of the hour was a united battle against the forces of communalism led by the duo, he said, adding that the CPI(M) had a ‘historic responsibility’ to achieve that goal. That there was only a passing reference to the Congress is equally significant. In an obvious effort to fend off growing criticism against party on rising political violence, Yechury said violence is not CPI(M)’s culture. Any aberration in party workers’ action leading to political violence would be sternly dealt with, Yechury added.
Last but not the least is the effusive references to KC(M) chief KM Mani by party leaders like EP Jayarajan and A R Vijayaraghavan, close aides of Pinarayi . Both said Mani was a prominent leader with a substantial mass base. Incidentally, the organizational report also stresses the need for expanding the base of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) – a euphemism for inducting Mani into the front.
The issue has acquired a different dimension with party stalwart VS Achuthanandan voicing his opposition to inducting Mani ito the LDF. The corrupt and tainted leaders should be avoided like the plague, argued VS in his letter to Yechury on the subject.
The VS support must be music to the ears of CPI leaders who have been vehemently opposing the ‘invitation’ to Mani from top CPI(M) leaders. No wonder, the CPI leaders, including state chief Kanam Rajendran have said that the CPI and Mani cannot co-exist in the LDF.
With VS mounting pressure, the CPI(M) leadership is unlikely to rush into an early decision on the subject. Indications are that a decision will be taken only after a detailed discussion in the LDF.
Achuthanandan was clearly the ‘star of the day’. It was VS who hoisted the flag. Unlike the last conference where he was denied a chance to speak, VS was allowed to make a speech on this occasion. The veteran also ‘rose to the occasion’ by not embarrassing the state party leadership by making any unflattering references to them. In fact he was full of praise for the state government’s performance in office – the relief on the faces of Pinarayi and Kodiyeri was too visible to ignore! (IPA Service)