Faction feud dominated four years of Left rule in Kerala

May 18th, 2010 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sanu George
Thiruvananthapuram, May 18 (IANS) Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan was hailed a ‘messiah’ four years back as he led the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to a landslide win in the assembly polls. As the 86-year-old veteran Marxist steps into the fifth year of his chief ministership Tuesday, the most notable aspect people remember of his rule is the bitter feud between him and his party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

‘Comrade VS’, as he is popularly known, was sworn in as the 20th chief minister of Kerala on May 18, 2006, with huge expectations of good governance and rapid progress on various fronts, including infrastructure and IT.

The Oct 20, 1923-born VS, who has been in Communist movement since 1940, earned enormous goodwill while acting tough to raze illegal encroachments in the picturesque hill station in Munnar.

Hopes soared when he clinched the Rs.1,500 crore Smart City IT project at Kochi on the eve of the first anniversary of his rule.

Three years down the road, the much-hyped Smart City is just a foundation stone. Its promoters, Smart City Dubai, and the government continue to differ on how to go about the mega IT project.

Similarly, the Munnar drive halted with owners of the resorts dragging the government to court over demolition of their buildings.

While huge projects, like Smart City, and good intentions, such as Munnar drive, got stuck, there was no end to factional feud in his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the dominant partner of the LDF, with VS and Vijayan leading the rival groups.

The fued resulted in the CPI-M leadership throwing VS out of the politburo last year.

That was no cause for celebrations either for the CPI-M leadership or Vijayan the as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named the latter an accused in the Rs.374 crore SNC Lavalin corruption case.

The infighting in the party meant poor show in the last year’s Lok Sabha polls. The LDF won just four of the 20 seats.

No wonder, the third anniversary of the LDF rule was a low-key affair.

There is nothing much to celebrate the fourth anniversary also as the local bodies’ polls are round the corner and LDF prospects do not seem bright going by the results of several by-elections to village councils. The Left performed badly in them.

Achuthanandan, however, is unfazed.

“My government was unwavering in its focus on the principles of welfare, development and peace. Farmers suicides are a thing of the past because my government had given them handsome prices for commodities through procurement programmes,” he said in a statement.

The Congress, which leads the United Democratic Front (UDF), hopes to return to power in assembly polls a year away and reels out statistics to show the God’s Own Country in poor light.

“Today Kerala stands first in liquor consumption, crime rate, atrocities against women, suicides, accidents, hartals and per capita debt. It is ranked 27th in industrial investments and 24th in implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme,” according to Congress leader Oommen Chandy.

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