A lesson for CPM leaders in state

via By Pradeep Pillai @ www.expressbuzz.com published on October 12, 2009

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finally, recession in popular support is forcing the Communists as well to come up with austerity measures. The CPM politburo has put on record the ultimate insult to itself. That the CPM wants its cadres and leaders to become and behave like Communists is confession enough of the conduct of the party in recent times. It further substantiates the allegations raised by the rebels and those out of favour with the CPM state leadership.

The initiative comes in the wake of the public spanking it received from the voters of Kerala and West Bengal. However, the efforts of the central leadership could in all probability become a case of too little, too late. The state leadership of the party has neither accepted in public nor initiated any steps to curb the alleged neo-liberal and bourgeois lifestyle of the party leaders. But the central leadership has now made no bones about stating the same. The observation that “some leaders were not leading life according to the party ideology and that corruption, nepotism and influence of money have crept into the party mechanism’’ is sure to hit the state leadership hard as it has been facing such allegations for some time now.

Hobnobbing with businessmen and real estate tycoons, business relations with the bourgeois investors, membership in hi-fi clubs and a lavish lifestyle were no taboo for partymen and their family members.

The criticism and the correction measures suggested by the politburo should be seen in the light of a series of allegations and exposes on the un-communist style of functioning of several leaders and ministers.

The latest on the list of tainted comrades is minister P K Sreemathi who had allegedly appointed her daughter-in-law as cook and her nephew in her personal staff. The sister incidentally is married to CPM central committee member

 E P Jayarajan who is an outspoken supporter of  party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

An expose by Janasakthi, the mouthpiece of rebel communists, alleges that when Jayarajan’s son moved out Sreemathi did not think twice before promoting her daughter-in-law as the additional PA in the gazetted rank. The daughter-in-law was then taken off the personal staff in the wake of the controversy, but not before ensuring that she stayed long enough to ensure pension benefits. When the party discusses communist life-style, it is sure to embarrass many more leaders and their kin.

The recent developments such as Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son getting a fancy number by paying a paltry premium and the earlier ones about the lavish weddings of the children of  the party leaders had made the face of the party go red – for the wrong reasons. None of these triggered any action, save the occasional formality of the party forum recording the cliched call to set an example of simplicity.

E P Jayarajan himself is heading the operations of the party-controlled amusement park at Kannur. As if this was only the beginning, the party is going ahead with the building of a five-star hotel at Kozhikode.

Jayarajan was in the centre of controversy many a time for his remarks such as “Liquor should be treated as part of routine menu’’ and “Don’t expect modern day communists to consume `parippu vada’ and black tea like in olden days’’.  The neo-liberal ways of the CPM had invited flak both from inside and outside and this played a key role in the poor performance of the party in the last Lok Sabha elections. The state leadership of the party, however, refused to accept this analysis and till date the leadership was not prepared to mend its ways.

The decision of the politburo indicates that the central leadership is not willing to swallow the state unit’s stand. The late wisdom can also be attributed to the growing popularity of the Maoists in Bengal and to the stinging criticism of the party’s policies which favoured multi-national investors over the poor farmers and peasants.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan who tried his best to impress upon the leadership that the party is going off the communist tangent must be having a hearty laugh at the turn of events. However, Achuthanandan’s detractors point out that the Chief Minister’s son is a member of  the Trivandrum Golf Club.

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