V S throws down the gauntlet

A defiant V S Achuthanandan has thrown a virtual challenge to the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s central  leadership amidst reports of increasing demand for action against him from the official wing of the Kerala CPI(M).

Achuthanandan’s latest act of defiance is significant on two counts: first, it is the first time that Achuthanandan has directly challenged the central leadership of the CPI(M).

Equally important is the tenor of the loud-and-clear message he has sent to the party leadership. 'I do not think the Central Committee (CC) meeting will discuss any disciplinary action against me. Even if it take any action, I will not go by it,' said the CPI(M) stalwart , who has been engaged in a running feud with the official leadership of the Kerala CPI(M) for over a decade.

Understandably, the central leadership is on the horns of a Hamletian dilemma. It is caught in a pincer: on the one side is Kerala CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who is pressing hard for action against Achuthanandan for what he calls repeated  violation of party discipline. Ranged against him is an equally adamant Achuthanandan who wants the leadership to address the urgent issues raised by him.

In his remarks made at Thiruvananthapuram before leaving for the crucial two-day central committee meeting starting in New Delhi on Saturday, Achuthanandan has made it clear that any unilateral action against him without tackling the organisational and ideological issues highlighted by him, would not be acceptable to him.

Sources close to Achuthanandan say if the veteran is suspended or demoted, he would walk out of the party. A mere public censure may induce him to endure it and remain with the party.

The politburo (PB) which discussed the Kerala-related issues on Friday, was divided on the action to be taken against Achuthanandan. Accordingly, the PB has left it to the CC to take a final decision in the matter. Indications are that a decision would be taken by Sunday night when the CC meeting concludes.

The gravamen of Achuthanandan’s charge against the Kerala party leadership is that it has deviated sharply from the policy line of the CPI(M); and that the state unit has been utterly clumsy in dealing with the serious situation arising from the brutal murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party(RMP) leader T P Chandrashekharan. Achuthanandan has demanded that these policy mistakes have cost the party dear and therefore, there is an urgent need for revamp of the state party, including a change of leadership.

It will not be easy for the central leadership to take any drastic action against Achuthanandan in view of his tremendous popularity among not only the party’s rank and file but also among the people at large in the state.

What will add to the pressure on Prakash Karat and company is the open concern voiced by allies, the CPI(M) and the RSP, which want the CPI(M) leadership to solve the issue by accommodating and addressing the concerns and issues raised by Achuthanandan. (IPA)
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