Crisis in Kerela CPI(M) deepens

The crisis in the Kerala CPI(M) has deepened with the party stalwart V S Achuthanandan demanding a change in the leadership of the state unit of the party and constitution of an ad hoc committee.

In a strongly-worded letter to CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Achuthanandan has said that the policies being pursued by the present leadership of the Kerala CPI(M) would not only weaken the party but destroy it. If the central leadership is not in a mood to change the state leadership, then VS said he should be allowed to quit as leader of the opposition. He has also demanded an early meeting of the central committee and state committee to discuss the serious situation arising out of the murder of RMP leader TP Chandrashekharan.

The VS’s ‘letter bomb’ has stunned the leadership of the state CPI(M) which is under severe pressure over the alleged involvement of some party leaders in the brutal murder of the RMP leader. The official wing of the Kerala CPI(M) is struggling to explain the continuing arrest of some party leaders in Kannur district in connection with the murder.     

This is the second time within the last 10 days that VS has challenged the state leadership. A few days back, he had openly accused State CPI(M) secretary of functioning as an autocrat and of behaving like the late SA Dange. The second attack has come at a time when the leadership has hardly recovered from the shock of the first VS salvo.

The VS ‘letter’ – the state leadership says it is the creation of the rightwing media opposed to the party – reportedly says that the state party cannot shy away from the responsibility for the murder of Chandrashekharan.

VS also says that the party, which is campaigning against the politics of violence in West Bengal, cannot adopt a stand by encouraging it in Kerala. Significantly, the Kerala CPI(M) leadership has not condemned the murder so far. All that they have said is that the party has nothing to do with it.  

In a way, VS has outsmarted the state leadership by writing to the party general secretary. It is learnt that the state leadership was planning to convene the state secretariat and demand VS’s ouster from the central committee for gross indiscipline. But the CPI(M) stalwart has neatly-pre-empted the move with his letter.  

It is clear that the central committee meeting to be held on 8, 9 and 10 June will become crucial for both VS and the state leadership.

Although Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai has denied that VS has written to the party leadership, he added that the central committee would discuss the letter if the leadership receives it.

The defiant mood of VS has placed both the state leadership and the central leaders in a severe dilemma. The party is in no position to take action against VS as such a decision could result in a mass exodus from the state CPI(M). The central leadership also cannot afford to take any immediate and drastic action in view of the proximity of the Neyyattinkara by-election due in the first week of June. The leadership cannot ignore the issues VS had raised both at his press conference and in the letter either.
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