C. Gouridasan Nair

Central leadership’s intervention has had its impact on State unit

VS, Pinarayi submitted to corrective action

No sign of intense factional activity of late

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to reinstate Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the party Polit Bureau marks a positive turn in the affairs of the party in Kerala and suggests that the highest policy-making body of the CPI(M) is happy with the welcome impact the Central leadership’s intervention has had on the party leadership and rank and file in the State.

Timing significant

The timing of the decision is as significant as the accompanying remark of CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat that the two leaders are being reinstated in the Polit Bureau as they had accepted the action taken against them in the ‘spirit’ in which it was meant. The CPI(M) Central Committee had taken up the issue at its June 26 meeting, but had decided to defer a decision in the matter to the next meeting.

Inner party discussions

The Central Committee decision, a ratification of Friday’s Polit Bureau proposal in the matter, could not have come at a better time for the two leaders because the CPI(M) in Kerala has just set in motion formal inner party discussions at the grassroots on the party’s performance during the last three years.

Having submitted themselves to corrective action by the party, the two senior leaders would be able to carry greater credibility with the rank and file as these deliberations, being held in the party conferences at the lower level now, progress to higher levels in the coming months.

The most noteworthy aspect of the May 26 CPI(M) Polit Bureau decision to suspend the two leaders was the decisiveness it had shown in the matter and the even-handed manner in which the bitter pill was administered to the two, who were perceived as the two faces of factionalism in the CPI(M) in Kerala.

Strong signal

The immediate provocation for the Polit Bureau decision was the open mutual criticism by the two leaders, but the deeper intent was to send a strong signal to everybody down the line that the party leadership would not tolerate indiscipline, howsoever mighty the persons concerned are.

To their credit, both Mr. Achuthanandan and Mr. Vijayan had publicly admitted their mistake, the former likening the Polit Bureau decision to a teacher chastising the ward and the latter pointing out that the party is supreme in all such matters.

The two leaders have been careful not to publicly air their differences on any issue.

Close watch

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau has been keeping a close tab on not only the two leaders, but also the party as a whole in Kerala and had issued a special guideline for the conduct of the ongoing party conferences. The impression of the Central leadership is that the guideline is being adhered to in letter and spirit.

There has not been any sign of intense factional activity so far, but these are still early days and any such intent at the individual or collective level would come into the open only when the conferences at the area and district levels are held.

It is hoped that the firm intervention by the party Central leadership, the first of its kind in the over-a-decade-old history of intense factionalism in the Kerala CPI(M), would be a strong anti-dote for the malady.

The conferences themselves have great significance for the CPI(M) for they would, in a way, signal a generational change in the party.

New crop of leaders

Although there would not be any wholesale replacement of the old guard, a new crop of leaders are all set to take over the reins of the party at all levels and they would be leading the party in the coming Lok Sabha elections and beyond.

The party cannot allow factional pulls and pressures to be the single most important determinant in this process and hence the party Central leadership’s determination to clamp down on any sign of factionalism at any level.