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Kerala CM Achuthanandan on his way out?

Arun Lakshman in Thiruvananthapuram | February 04, 2009 18:26 IST
Last Updated: February 04, 2009 22:13 IST

Kerala [Images] Chief Minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist politbureau member V S Achuthanandan is almost on his way out from his party if the indications from him and his bitter rival and the party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan are to be observed closely.

The chief minister and the party secretary were at logger heads for the past several years and Pinarayi has successfully emerged as the most powerful leader of the CPI-M in Kerala for the past few years cutting to size Achuthanandan who had in fact promoted Vijayan into the higher echelons of the CPI-M power ladder.

The present feud started when the CBI charge sheeted Pinarayi as the ninth accused in the 374.5 crore rupee SNC Lavelin case related to the maintenance of the hydro electric projects at Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniyar.

Pinarayi was the state electricity minister in the E K Nayanar [Images] cabinet during 1996 when the incidents related to the case took place.

The previous UDF government had on the last day of its office referred the case to the CBI and the CPI-M had retorted sharply to the government's decision.

Even after the CBI has charge sheeted Pinarayi as the ninth accused, the CPI-M is seen defending the party leader with party general secretary Prakash Karat [Images] and the local party leadership accusing the CBI of having acted according to the script written from the Congress headquarters in Delhi [Images] to frame Pinarayi during the run up to the general elections.

The CPI-M politbureau member and state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the first person to defend Pinarayi and the minister in fact shielded the party secretary even before the CBI had announced his name.

The state chief minister, however, decided not to follow the party official line and flew to Delhi to meet the party general secretary even as the name of the party secretary came out as one of the accused in the SNC Lavelin case.

Sources in the CPI-M told that Achuthanandan categorically told the party general secretary that he would not be able to defend the party secretary and wanted Pinarayi to be removed off all the party posts.

Since Pinarayi enjoys a massive majority in the party with almost all the party's district committees supporting him, the party general secretary was reluctant to accept the proposal put forward by Achuthanandan.

Chief Minister Achuthanandan has also told the press persons in a post cabinet brief the other day that he would abide by the constitution and this increased the ire of the party leadership.

Achuthanandan replied in the negative when asked whether he would take part in the yatra undertaken by the party secretary. This in itself is seen as gross indiscipline in a party like the CPI-M and the party secretary angrily retorted that nothing would happen to the yatra if Achuthanandan does not take part in it.

Achuthanandan met the press in Delhi on Tuesday and said that more than an ordinary party person he is an elected chief minister and that he would take decisions only on the basis of his constitutional post.

This is a clear indication that he would not budge and that there is no going back for him.

The CPI-M official faction leaders have already started clamouring for the blood of Achuthanandan and the party central committee member and a powerful leader EP Jayarajan has said that the party would stand by Pinarayi  at any cost.

The CPI-M politbureau is meeting on February 14 and 15 in Delhi and indications are that Vijayan would also take part in the meeting skipping the yatra and this meeting gains importance with sources in the party indicating that there would  be no climb down for the beleaguered chief minister other than his resignation.

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