Vijayan’s prosecution adds to CPI-M’s cup of woes

June 8th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 8 (IANS) With bitter factionalism costing dearly in the general elections, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was dealt another blow when Kerala’s top leader Pinarayi Vijayan’s prosecution was given the nod by the governor.
Governor R.S. Gavai Sunday gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) go ahead to prosecute state CPI-M state general secretary Vijayan in the Rs.374-crore (Rs.3.74 billion) SNC Lavalin corruption case.

Vijayan is accused of wrongly awarding a project for renovation of two hydel-power projects to the Canadian company SNC Lavalin when he was the state power minister in 1997.

The ruling Left Front government of V.S. Achuthanandan had earlier submitted a report by the state advocate general to the governor exonerating Vijayan. But Gavai is understood to have taken his decision after consulting several legal luminaries.

The blow comes at a time when the Left Democratic Front (LDF), led by the CPI-M, is facing crisis on many fronts - bitter factionalism between Vijayan and Achuthanandan, feuding allies and one of the lowest electoral showing in the recent elections.

The LDF fell to just four seats in 2009 after winning 19 of the state’s 20 seats in 2004.

It is also the first time that a politburo member has been an accused in a corruption case.

The relationship between Vijayan and Achuthanandan has been going from bad to worse ever since the latter was given the nod to contest assembly polls in 2006, after first being denied a seat. He then took over the reins of the LDF government.

Vijayan, by virtue of a brute majority in 84-member state committee and 15-member secretariat, has made many attempts to unseat Achuthanandan. But the 85-year-old chief minister continues in office courtesy interventions by the politburo.

The dissatisfaction among the allies can be gauged from the fact that none of the LDF constituents - the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Kerala Congress-Joseph and the Congress-S - have reacted to Vijayan’s prosecution and have maintained a silence.

All the allies, barring the Kerala Congress-Joseph, are cut up with Vijayan after being bulldozed on the issue of ticket distribution to the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

One of the founding fathers of the LDF in 1980, M.P. Veerendra Kumar — chief of the Janata Dal-Secular, walked out of the combine before the general elections after being denied the Kozhikode seat by the CPI-M.

As the LDF completes three years in power, the CPI-M politburo has its hands full in playing peacemaker between warring sides, enthusing the party cadres to bolster its electoral fortunes and mending fences with the allies.

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