Madani row rekindles war in Kerala CPM

via VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram -Daily Pioneer published on December 16, 2009

Octogenarian communist leader and Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, who also represents the traditionalists in the CPI(M) has reopened the old group war in the party by openly disagreeing with his secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, the leader of the reformist faction, on the approach the party should take towards the PDP of Abdul Nasser Madani, whose wife Sufiya is the tenth accused in the terror act of Kalamassery bus-burning.

Responding to questions on the CPI(M)’s relations with PDP, posed by newsmen during a briefing on the Cabinet decisions here on Wednesday, Achuthanandan said that the party did not have any kind of alliance with the PDP. “It is not the case of the PDP alone. We don’t have alliance with any extremist outfit,” he said. He added that the party had already observed that whatever cooperation it had with the PDP was unnecessary.

Disagreeing with his party secretary Vijayan, Achuthanandan said there would be no relations with the PDP in the future. Vijayan had last Sunday refused to rule out future alliance with the PDP saying electoral alliances were formed as per the situation arising in the particular context. Vijayan had also refused to term Madani’s PDP as an extremist organization, but had said that Madani himself had, after his release from the prison, announced that he did not hold extremist theories anymore.

Vijayan had taken this stand even after veteran leader and Politbureau member MK Pandhe had termed the relations with the PDP as a huge mistake, adding that there would be no future alliance with that party. The Kerala CPI(M) had struck an alliance – though without formal seat-sharing pact – with Madani for the last Lok Sabha election disregarding the objections aired by people like Achuthanandan and by almost all the allies in the LDF.

Vijayan, the architect of this alliance, had even shared stages with PDP leaders including Madani himsels. The party, which suffered a humiliating setback in the Lok Sabha polls, later observed that the alliance had caused Left-supporting secularist voters to distance themselves away from the party, leading to the poll debacle.

Observers feel that the reiteration of his position on Madani’s party by the Chief Minister, who was lost his earlier war against Pinarayi Vijayan in the party by getting demoted from the Politburo to the central committee, could be seen as the symbol of dissatisfaction fuming within the party over Vijayan’s refusal to dump Madani even after the electoral setbacks and the allegations of extremist connections against the Muslim leader.

CPI(M) leaders known as having no group leanings say that Achuthanandan had spoken against the alliance with Madani considering all the pros and cons. They say that there is a possibility that he has got an assurance from people known as loyal to Vijayan that they would not oppose him if he spoke against the alliance with Madani, since it is an issue powerful enough to cause tremors within the party.

Observers point out that Pinarayi is not in a position to wage another all-out war against Achuthanandan as he had done in the past, which had led to the demotion of the octogenarian leader. The fact is that he is unable to find many leaders to support his stand on PDP and Madani, they say. Not many in any party committee are expected to support the view that the CPI(M) should consider having alliances with extremism-oriented parties like the PDP in the future.

Also, this is not the best of times for Vijayan to lead yet another war against his detractors in the party as he has to appear in the Kerala High Court on December 30 as the seventh accused in the Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case. When the case was taken up in September last, he had avoided appearing in the court by getting admitted in a Chennai hospital.

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