Vijayan issue niggles Kerala’s Left as it readies for march

February 1st, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

GovindaKasargode (Kerala), Feb 1 (IANS) As Kerala’s ruling Marxists gear up for a massive march seen as a precursor to the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, all eyes are on the state high court which is expected to give Monday its ruling on whether the governor’s permission is needed to prosecute former Marxist minister Pinarayi Vijayan, now facing graft charges. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state and central leadership has come out in support of tainted state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who is to lead the nearly fortnight-long ‘Nava Kerala Yathra’ slated to begin Monday at Manjeswaram, near here.

An NGO in a petition with the Kerala High Court said that the governor’s sanction was not required to prosecute Vijayan in the 12-year-old graft case involving Canadian company SNC Lavalin.

Last week, the court had asked the Advocate General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad for his views.

The issue has sharpened the divide in the state party between rivals Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Vijayan.

Several CPI-M ministers defended Vijayan by repeating the party line that he was framed by the Congress. Achuthanandan, who Wednesday said he is studying the issue, is yet to make his stand clear.

On Saturday, the liaison committee meeting of the ruling Left Democratic Front failed to even discuss the Vijayan issue, thereby making their support for him clear.

“None of the allies of the LDF raised this issue and hence it was not discussed,” said LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan.

Senior CPI-M leader K.P. Satish Chandran, organiser of the yathra, told IANS that all arrangements for the march are over and it will be flagged off by politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai Monday.

“The theme of the yathra is ‘prosperous Kerala and safe India’. The Lavalin issue would also be spoken about because this is a clear case of charges being framed against our leader by those against our party,” said Chandran, also the Kasargode district secretary of the party.

The yathra ends in the state capital on Feb 25. Chandran was unable to confirm if Achuthanandan would be present on the dais at the closing ceremony.

Vijayan will be accompanied by three of his closest aides and party bigwigs E.P. Jayarajan, M.V. Govindan and Rajya Sabha member A. Vijayaraghavan besides the lone party woman leader T.N. Seema in the march.

The presence of K.T. Jaleel, the Left-supported Independent legislator, in the yathra team has come as a surprise.

Meanwhile, what has come as a dampener ahead of the march for the party are posters at many places that say “Corrupt leader Vijayan should resign”. Skirmishes have been reported at many places over the posters.

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