Veteran CPI(M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan, who was just the other day censured by the CPI(M) Central committee for defying the party line on the Kudankulam plant, has tendered a public apology for his decision to go to the plant site in Tamil Nadu.

The 88-year-old leader, in the eye of the storm in Kerala over his attempted visit to Kudankulam and his controversial visit to slain Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrasekharan’s home, has also publicly regretted his decision to visit the RMP leader’s home on June 2, the date of polling for the Neyyattinkara Assembly byelection, and his likening of CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan to S.A. Dange, who was general secretary of the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) at the time of its split in 1964.

His apologies on all three issues, made at a press conference convened for the purpose, were accompanied by riders that seemed to suggest that he stood firm in his position on all three issues. On Kudankulam, Mr. Achuthanandan seemed to suggest that the party, which was not opposed to the Kudankulam project, had come round to the position that commissioning of the plant should wait till sufficient safety measures were taken. The latest resolution on the subject, adopted by the party Central committee on Sunday, also wanted an end to the repressive measures against the popular agitation in Kudankulam. It wanted the State to withdraw cases against the agitators, including that for treason. “I accept the resolution. The party is not against the people who are waging a struggle against the power plant,” he said.

Mr. Achuthanandan termed his visit to the RMP leader’s home on the day of the by-election a ‘sheer coincidence,’ but agreed that he should not have done so. The same applied to his remark about Mr. Vijayan, which came in response to persistent questioning at a news conference. He was confident that party general secretary Prakash Karat’s assurance to the Central Committee that stern action would be taken if any party worker was found involved in the murder would be carried out in full, the former Chief Minister said.