Infighting in CPI(M)

achuthanandan_pinayari248The ideological and practical confusions among the Indian communists have completely isolated them from the masses. The just concluded Lok Sabha election had proved that the people have rejected them electorally and given the Left body blow by giving them historically lowest tally in the Lower house. The infighting and dubious handling by the politiburo by sideing with the culprits is going to erode the communists forever from the Indian political scene.

The Times of India writes (15 July 2009)

These are not the best of times for the CPM. Its parliamentary strength is at the lowest since the party’s formation in 1964. The leadership is  divided over the factors that led to the massive defeat in the 2009 polls and the remedial actions needed to regain the confidence of voters. The confusion at the top has manifested itself in the ad hoc measures taken by the party’s central leadership to address factionalism within its Kerala unit.

The fight between two groups, one headed by the state party secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan, and the other by the chief minister, V S Achuthanandan, has paralysed administration in the state and contributed to the Left Front’s defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. However, the steps announced by the CPM central leadership are unlikely to improve matters within the party or in the state administration. This week, the CPM, after an unusual two-day session to discuss factionalism in Kerala, chose to expel VS, a founding leader of the organisation, from the party’s highest decision-making body, the politburo. However, Vijayan has been allowed to continue as state chief even though he faces a CBI case over his alleged role in the multi-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case. A truce between the two factions seems unlikely, which will be a drag on governance.

It is strange that a party should penalise a member but want him to head its government. It is equally rare for the CPM, which emphasises probity in public office, to defend a leader facing corruption charges at the risk of dividing the party and alienating sympathisers. The only possible explanation is the Machiavellian logic that while VS is relatively more popular than Vijayan, the latter has control of the party. That the CPM leadership prejudged the case against Vijayan and gave him a clean chit has complicated matters. The party failed to convincingly argue its position and defend its leader without obstructing the investigation. It lost credibility over the Lavalin controversy and that was a major factor in its electoral loss. Now, the party leadership finds it awkward even to ask Vijayan to step down till the case is concluded.

By so blatantly favouring one faction, whose leader is an accused in a corruption case, the party’s central leadership has gone against its own interests. While the Left’s withdrawal of support from the UPA government was packaged as an act of morality and ideological purity, it will be hard to maintain that appearance in the face of the expulsion of VS. Prakash Karat, general secretary of the CPM, was the key mover behind both those decisions. His authority is bound to be eroded when the party comes face to face with their consequences


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: