R.K. Radhakrishnan

Theekathirarticle a "bolt from the blue," says CPI leader CPI leader says both fronts would not lose sight of the larger picture

CHENNAI: Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary D. Pandian on Friday said that there existed a "difference of opinion" in assessment of ground realities between his party and the State unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Answering mediapersons here, Mr. Pandian said that there was unnecessary talk of one being a big party and another a small party. It was difficult to make such a distinction based on representation in elected bodies, he said and asked if the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam could be considered a small party merely because it did not win too many seats in a few Assembly elections.

He described some comments of CPI(M) leaders against the CPI as "unfortunate" and said that both parties could sort out issues face to face. The article by CPI(M) state secretary N.Varadarajan in the party organ Theekathir on the problems with the CPI came as a "bolt from the blue," he said.

Dismissing suggestions that the differences might lead to the State units not working together on common issues, Mr. Pandian said that since the time of the CPI (M) breaking away from the CPI in 1964, leaders of both parties had talked about issues in the open. The CPI and the CPI (M) had come together in the eighties to counter the right reactionary forces. He was certain that the leaders of both fronts would not lose sight of the larger picture.

Thalli issue

Mr. Pandian, asked if Thalli was the first issue between both the parties, agreed that it all began with the defeat of the CPI candidate in Thalli Assembly constituency. The winner was a rebel CPI (M) candidate. Speaking to The Hindu , a senior CPI (M) leader said that it was true that the candidate who won was a CPI(M) member. But it was also a fact that when he offered to resign from the party post following his refusal to withdraw his nomination, the party took a serious view and did not accept his resignation. It expelled him.

The leader said that the CPI(M) State secretary had campaigned in Thalli for the CPI candidate. But the CPI did not reciprocate this in the local body elections. In Kovilpatti, Tiruppur and Nagapattinam, which was allotted to the CPI(M), the CPI state leadership did not rein in their rebel candidates; they instead campaigned for them.

Also, the CPI(M) state leadership was irked by the elaborate functions organised by the CPI to induct those expelled by the CPI(M). "This is a free country. Anyone can be in any party and switch loyalties. But organising a huge function and saying that only the CPI(M) leadership in the State is opposed to both parties coming together does not show CPI leaders in good light," said the leader.

The CPI(M) had to counter the propaganda that there was an impending merger and that the State leadership was against it. It was in order to explain the party's position to its cadre and supporters that Mr.Varadarajan wrote the article.

The CPI(M) leadership was keen on sorting out these "irritants" keeping in view the larger picture.

There was no threat to left unity and these problems would soon be ironed out, said the leader.