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Division in Kerala CPI-M reaches point of no return
May 26, 2007 21:00 IST
It is ironic that the Communist Party of India-Marxist decision to wield the axe on Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and state Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan comes at a time when the party-led government just completed a year in office.
The action by the politburo is the culmination of a long-drawn undeclared war between two of the party's popular faces in the state, which began much before it stormed to power ousting the Congress last year.
The two comrades have shared an uneasy relationship ever since Vijayan, once considered an Achuthanandan loyalist, moved away from his shadow after becoming the state secretary as his nominee.
He then went on to capture the powerful state committee by filling his loyalists in several district committees, much to the chagrin of the 84-year-old V S, as he is popularly known among the masses.
The differences often came out in the open after both the sides leaked "favourable" details of party meetings to the media, drawing criticism from the central leadership, which even sent a one-member committee to fix the responsibility.
The wranglings reached a turning point when the state committee decided not to field V S in the Assembly elections, triggering a wave of protests, both inside and outside the party, in the state.
A darling of the masses, Achuthanandan's charisma and popularity was something which the party could not afford to ignore and the central leadership finally intervened and gave him a ticket, leaving the Vijayan camp fuming.
Riding on the twin waves of Achuthanandan's popularity, which rose during his tenure as the opposition leader after he took up several issues of public concern, and anti-incumbency, the party swept the elections.
But even before the celebrations subsided, the party got embroiled in yet another turmoil over its chief ministerial candidate and finally the mantle was given to V S, though his powers were considerably curtailed.
The Vijayan camp ensured that it got the powerful home ministry and several key ministerial berths and Achuthanandan could manage to get only a handful of his nominees inducted in his Cabinet.
Many political analysts felt that V S has been made a "rubber-stamp" chief minister.
Though the honeymoon period passed off relatively trouble-free, sparks flew after the chief minister ordered a crackdown against video CD piracy and raids were conducted at video shops across the state.
The task force raided a studio owned by a senior police officer's wife, considered close to Vijayan, after which several administrative policies of the government also came under the scanner.
Vijayan has maintained that there were no differences in the party and held that it was the handiwork of a "media syndicate", funded by the CIA, active in the state to finish off the party.
The differences between Vijayan and Achuthanandan reached a flashpoint after the state government ordered 'Operation Eviction' earlier this month to remove illegal encroachments from the popular hill resort of Munnar.
The CPI-M state leadership soon expressed reservation over the composition of the task force handpicked by the chief minister, especially the choice of a special officer, who is an additional secretary in the CM's office.