Fissures in CPI, CPI-M front in Kerala

via published on December 6, 2006

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:The strain between Kerala’s two ruling Left parties has come into the public arena with a top Communist Party of India (CPI) leader hitting out at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for its big brother attitude.

CPI state secretary Veliyam Bhargavan Tuesday launched a scathing attack on his ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) partner and threatened that “things could reach a dead end”.

Known for his razor sharp tongue, Bhargavan told reporters in Malappuram: “It has come to a stage that things will reach a dead end in the LDF if the CPI-M does not correct its stand where all decisions are taken unilaterally by them.”

“We just can’t allow the decisions of the CPI-M alone to go ahead. It has to be a decision with the concurrence of the entire LDF,” he added.

He referred specifically to the environment portfolio being taken away from CPI’s Forest Minister Binoy Viswam.

“They demanded the environment portfolio, but we said we will not give it away. But Achuthanandan without even informing the cabinet comes out with a notification that it has been taken. We protested but so far nothing has happened,” said Bharghavan.

Tensions between the two parties have begun reflecting in day-to-day decisions as well.

For the last two weeks, for instance, there has been confusion over the appointment of the vice chancellor of the Kerala Agricultural University.

While the university falls under the purview of Agriculture Minister M. Ratnakaran, who is from the CPI, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has apparently been saying that he would have a final say on who would be the new vice chancellor.

There are also reports that CPI ministers are critical of the manner in which the advocate general last month informed the Kerala High Court that there was no need for a CBI probe into corruption in the deal with Canadian firm SNC Lavlin. CPI-M state secretary Pinnarayi Vijayan is involved in the case as he was power minister when the deal was struck in 1996.

This decision is reported to have been made without the concurrence of Achuthanandan, who said he was not aware of it.

LDF convenor and senior CPI-M leader Vaikom Viswan tried to play down the rift and said issues were being discussed. “Bilateral talks between the two parties are going on and there is nothing that cannot be sorted out through talks.”

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