WikiLeaks unleashes political storm in Kerala

via VR JAYARAJ | KOCHI - Daily Pioneer published on September 2, 2011

The CPI(M), leading the Opposition LDF, and the Muslim League, second largest constituent of the Congress-led ruling UDF, are swaying in the political storm unleashed by WikiLeaks with the publication of US embassy cables sent to the US State Department in Washington containing details of interactions between leaders of these two parties and American diplomats.

On Thursday, State CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan – himself trapped in the WikiLeaks revelations – demanded the resignation of Muslim League Ministers PK Kunhalikutty and MK Muneer while the Congress charged the CPI(M) with diluting its Marxist-Leninist ideology as was evident from the WikiLealks expose.

“We are not against the US,” said CPI(M) State secretariat member VV Dakshinamurthy surprising entire Kerala, which is familiar with the US-baiting of the Marxists since the Cold War era. WikiLeaks had said that Pinarayi and two Marxist ministers in the former LDF Cabinet had in August, 2008 pleaded with US officials for American capital investment in Kerala.

The unclassified US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks showed that Muslim League leader and Kerala Panchayat Minister MK Muneer had, in a conversation with an American diplomat, accused his senior party colleague and Industries Minister of helping Islamist outfit NDF (presently Popular Front of India). Muneer was quick to deny the report.

Faced with the serious allegation and the report that his own party colleague had been talking to Americans against him, Kunhalikutty on Thursday said, “It is not WikiLeaks anymore. It has turned out to be ‘weak links’. Everyone in Kerala knows that I am one of the strongest opponents of the NDF.”

The Marxists have, at the risk of endangering their own credibility, endorsed the authenticity of the WikiLeaks revelations in a bid to use them as a weapon against the Muslim League and the UDF. “There have been some WikiLeaks revelations about us and these have turned out to be true though not everything that had happened has come out,” Pinarayi said.

The CPI(M) secretary demanded the resignation of Kunhalikutty by pointing out that the allegation that he had helped extreme Islamist to infiltrate into his own party was very serious. “Muneer should have approached the concerned authorities with the information instead of sharing it with US officials. He has not done this. So he can’t continue as Minister,” he said.

Kunhalikutty is already facing several serious charges including those of sexually abusing a minor girl and amassing wealth through illegal means. His party, the Muslim League, is accused of being weak to take action against him. The Congress and its Chief Minister Oommen Chandy are facing the charge that they are protecting Kunhalikutty.

Pinarayi Vijayan and the neo-liberalist faction he is heading in the CPI(M) are worried that the WikiLeaks revelations that they had sought US capital investment in Kerala could hit them hard in the present situation where the party conferences in preparation for its 20th congress has begun, especially as he is trying to get re-elected as secretary after being in the post for 13 years.

The CPI(M) secretary had the other day admitted that he and then party ministers Thomas Isaac and MA Baby had met US diplomats as revealed by WikiLeaks. The leaders had then sought to woo American companies to invest in Kerala despite the party’s declared anti-US, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist stand.

However, State secretariat member Dakshinamurthy said that the CPI(M) was not against America but the its fight was against imperialism. “Stands against America and imperialism are two different things,” he said. But critics point out that imperialism has been synonymous with America since the Cold War era as far as Indian Marxists are concerned.

“It seems that the CPI(M) has forgotten even the basic Marxist-Leninist definition of imperialism,” said PVS Warrier, a former Naxalite intellectual. “America has been the CPI(M)’s foe even after the Cold War era. This has been true with respect to its stand on Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq and Iran,” he pointed out.

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