CPM denies seat to VS

published on March 17, 2011

VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram – Daily Pioneer

The CPI(M) on Wednesday decided not to field Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, its senior-most leader in Kerala, as a candidate in the April 13 Assembly polls. The move could ensure an electoral devastation of the party and the LDF it is heading. Achuthanandan was denied seat in the name of his activities that went against the policies of the party in the past five years.

The decision might also lead to the reduction of the party’s rule into tiny Tripura as it is most likely to be thrown out of power in West Bengal in the coming election. With the CPI(M) assuring Achuthanandan’s absence at the helm of the Left campaign, the polls to the 13th Kerala Assembly is expected to be a cakewalk for the Congress-led UDF.

Inside the Kerala CPI(M), the denial of seat to Achuthanandan was occasion for jubilation for the neo-liberalist official leadership under graft-accused State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, the architect of the felling of Achuthanandan. However, several leaders of other LDF partners said that the Marxists were digging their own graves and that this would affect the entire front.

The State committee of the party which met on Wednesday evening ratified the recommendation of a meeting of the secretariat earlier in the day not to field Achuthanandan in the polls. In both the forums, demands had come up for giving him ticket but the official leadership rejected them all.

The CPI(M) also decided that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a Politbureau member, would lead the front in the election. He would contest from his home constituency of Thalassery in Kannur district. Seven members of the State secretariat would contest in the election.

Pinarayi, seventh accused in sensational Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case, opted out of the race with the hope to continue as secretary even after the party congress to be held next year despite the rectification programme that forbid anybody continuing in important posts for more than two terms.

Sources said that Achuthanandan himself spoke in the secretariat meeting and had said that a person could not keep running at the age of 88. He also said that the decision had his approval, said sources in the official camp but Achuthanandan’s loyalists said this was merely a lie.

Even before enforcing on the State secretariat and committee the pre-conceived decision to deny ticket Achuthanandan and thus deprive him of the chance to lead the LDF in the election, Pinarayi Vijayan had – to and extent – ensured that the mass and cadre protests seen in a similar situation in 2006 would not recur.

When the party decided against fielding Achuthanandan in the election on Wednesday, March 15, 2006, protests had broken out all over Kerala and even in front of AKG Bhavan, the party’s national headquarters in Delhi. Following this, the leadership reversed the decision and fielded him in Malampuzha constituency in Palakkad district.

Protests were indeed staged by pro-Achuthanandan activists of the party in several places of the State since Wednesday evening but observers did not expect these to lead to a situation akin to that in 2006 without enough leaders to coordinate them.

Achuthanandan had of late emerged as the only man in the party capable of salvaging the LDF from a third poll disaster after the Lok Sabha and civic polls. The imprisonment of senior UDF leader R Balakrishna Pillai in a graft case on February 18 and the re-emergence of an old sex scandal against another UDF heavyweight PK Kunhalikutty had made the call for Achuthanandan louder.

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