Is it realignment time in Kerala?

via HK Correspondent published on January 13, 2006

The open snubbing of CPI State Secretary Veliyam Bhargavan by the CPM strongman Pinarayi Vijayan has set the ball rolling for a major political realignment in Kerala. Veliyam Bhargavan and his bandwagon of CPI leaders are feeling uncomfortable at the prospects of the new born DIC led by K Karunakaran joining the LDF.  The entry of Karunakaran and his cohort into the LDF will diminish the position of the CPI as the ‘second biggest constituent’ in the Front after CPM.


It is well known that the CPI has become letter-head organization with a number of leaders and absolutely no followers. This fact came to light when the state conference of the party held at Kottayam in 1994 passing off as a non-event. The poor cousins of the CPM  have been begging for a merger since 1980. But the CPM always keeps the CPI at a safe distance since they know that Bhargavan and his followers are as good as extra luggage.  


Bhargavan started making unpleasant sounds following the series of discussions held between the CPM and the DIC leaders. Immediately after the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha by-election, Bhargavan claimed that CPI candidate Pannian Raveendran won the election only because of the LDF votes and the DIC does not have any role in the victory. But Pinarayi Vijayan declared the next day itself that DIC played a major role in the victory of the CPI candidate.


Karunakaran, while addressing the DIC rally at Thiruvananthapuram the other day ridiculed Bhargavan and his CPI for their reported stance against his party’s entry into LDF. “It is for Pinarayi Vijayan to take the decision about DIC’s entry into LDF since he is the undisputed leader of the front,” declared Karunakaran with an eye to keep Vijayan in good humour. He also made fun of the CPI and RSP as parties of no relevance. This infuriated Bhargavan who came out with the statement that Karunakaran is dangerous. “Bhargavan might have felt uncomfortable in the company of Karunakaran because they were together fin the UDF for many years,” said Vijayan throwing innuendoes at the CPI for their marriage of convenience with the Congress during 1969-79.


The CPI had come out in the open supporting the dark days of emergency during 1975-77. With DIC’s entry into the LDF, the CPI, RSP , JD(S) and Congress (S) all will become extra luggage as far as the CPM is concerned. The indications from the AKG Center (head quarters of Kerala CPM) is that the party would contest 90-100 seats in the assembly elections scheduled for early 2006. DIC may be allotted 20 seats. That leaves hardly 20-21 seats for the remaining constituents. Whether CPI will be satisfied by the crumbs thrown at them by Pinarayi Vijayan is remain to be seen.   


At each and every occasion during his Kerala March, Pinarayi Vijayan makes it a point to abuse RSS and BJP and humiliates VS Achuthanandan and the CPI. The message is clear. In the event of a CPM victory in the 2006 elections, more RSS and BJP workers will be slaughtered by the comrades. He has made it clear, though indirectly, that constituents like CPI and RSP are free to walk out of the LDF.  V.S Achuthanandan finds himself cornered in the party by the Gang of Four (Pinarayi, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, M.A. Baby and Thomas Issac).

As things stands today, CPI and RSP are left with only two options. Either to suffer all the humiliation meted out on them by big brother CPM or walk over to the UDF led by Oommen Chandi’s Congress. But many of the CPI leaders are busy getting their shirts stitched for the swearing in ceremony of the new ministry scheduled for sometime in May 2006. It is to be seen how many of them will listen to the utterances of Bhargavan. “Who cares about Bhargavan’s statement? He himself has become a liability for the party,” said a senior CPI leader about Bhargavan.


The plight of RSP is the worst. The street fighting staged by the various faction leaders of the party during a meeting called by Babu Divakaran, the party’s nominee in the Chandi cabinet, threw to winds all norms of basic decency. There are some three RSPs as on today.


With the humiliation meted out by CPM getting intense day by day, both CPI and RSP have started thinking of looking for other options. Chandi is waiting with open arms to receive anybody willing to cross over from the opposite camp. He is already in the seventh heaven following the collapse of the move for Hindu unity between the SNDP Yogam and the NSS. PK Narayana Panikker, the NSS General Seceratary, and his deputy Sukumaran Nair have already thrown their lots with UDF and the Chandi camp.


It may be noted that the CPM and the CPI were in opposite camps during the Bihar election. Even if they engage in a face to face fight in Kerala, Bhargavan can take consolation in the fact that they are together in New Delhi as the main hangers on of 10, Janpath.

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