Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan is under fire for the manner in which he has been handling the portfolio and some of the cases that had undertone s in the politically competitive environment emerging ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Going by the nature of protests against the Minister’s approach, handling police affairs has become the focal point of factionalism in the Congress party.

Accusation

Mr. Radhakrishnan has been accused of going soft on the CPI(M), on the back foot ever since several of its middle-rung district leaders were booked in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case and a few other sensitive cases. The latest outbursts against the Minister took place soon after it was revealed that some of the accused in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case were liberally posting photographs of their jail life on the social networking site, Facebook. Mr. Radhakrishnan has also been accused of going slow on the Sukhoor murder case in which a few other CPI(M) leaders were charge-sheeted. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala appeared to be guarded in his response to the developments going to the extent of only stating that party workers and the people in general were concerned about the manner in which the cases were being handled. However, his supporters, led by K. Sudhakaran, MP, went after Mr. Radhakrishnan, listing out the number of instances where the Minister allegedly helped the CPI(M).

Chandy’s support

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy extended his full support to Mr. Radhakrishnan though there was a low point in their relations over the manner in which the latter handled the solar scam investigations. Interestingly, not many of the Chief Minister’s supporters were prepared to defend Mr. Radhakrishnan and his actions. The Minister refused to accept any kind of interference in his portfolio and did not mince words to state his position.

There is nothing new in the police turning out to be a factional issue. This has happened on all previous occasions that the Congress-led UDF has been in power. The late K. Karunakaran was once accused of using the police in factional fights. When A.K. Antony became Chief Minister, he did not allow political interference in police affairs. At one point, his supporters came out against this. Mr. Radhakrishnan got the Home portfolio as part of the Chief Minister’s strategy to admittedly prevent Mr. Chennithala from getting a slot in his Cabinet.

The Congress is directly pitted against the CPI(M) in most of the Malabar constituencies. Leaders from that region feel that going soft on the CPI(M) would lead to a set back to the Congress in the long and medium terms. Some of these leaders are of the opinion that the Home Department could have pursued the T.P. Chandrasekharan case to its next level, of investigating the conspiracy angle, and put the CPI(M) leadership in the dock.

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