Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan was under fire from several speakers on the first day of the three-day CPI(M) State committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

Mr. Achuthanandan’s stance on a variety of issues came in for criticism from his detractors who contended that his words and actions on all these issues had caused harm to the party. They were particularly critical of the stand taken by Mr. Achuthanandan following Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrasekharan’s murder and his decision to visit his home on the date of polling for the Neyyattinkara by-election.

The CPI(M) State committee, which began its deliberations after two days of intense discussions on the organisational issues raised by Mr. Achuthanandan and many complaints against him from the dominant section of the State leadership, saw almost every other member, including key district secretaries, coming down heavily on Mr. Achuthanandan. His detractors accused him of repeated defiance of the party leadership’s decisions on crucial questions.

While some of them demanded stern party-level disciplinary action against Mr. Achuthanandan, a few felt that his continuation as Opposition leader was causing more harm than good for the party.

Most of his critics, however, stopped short of going that far. Those who spoke in Mr. Achuthanandan’s favour, though few in number, felt that the fault lay more with the State leadership.

The meeting would take a decision on the action to be taken against three members of Mr. Achuthanandan’s personal staff on the charge of having leaked party secrets to the media. The three staff members are the Opposition Leader’s additional private secretary V.K. Sasidharan, press secretary K. Balakrishnan, and personal assistant A. Suresh.

The CPI(M) State secretariat is also reported to have decided to convene a special meeting of the State committee on June 24 to discuss issues relating to the Ernakulam district committee and charges raised by former district secretary Gopi Kottamurikkal.