Kerala

Cherian Philip’s political tack remains a cliffhanger

Cherian Philip. File
G. Anand Thiruvananthapuram 21 October 2021 19:34 IST
Updated: 22 October 2021 07:44 IST

Speculation rife that Left fellow traveller may break ranks with CPI(M)

Speculation was rife on Thursday that Left fellow traveller Cherian Philip would break ranks with the CPI(M).

Mr. Philip had courted political attention recently by portraying Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s high-profile visit to the Netherlands to learn flood mitigation as futile.

Mr. Philip also announced an “independent” YouTube channel to expose corruption and highlight social issues.

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Congress leader K. Muraleedharan, MP, told journalists that Mr. Philip’s return to the party fold would strengthen the organisation. Mr. Muraleedharan’s statement seemed to lend credibility to the rumour that Mr. Philip, once a close confidant of A.K. Antony and an ‘A’ group veteran, was likely to jump ship.

Backdoor manoeuvring

Mr. Philip has not threatened to sever his 20-year-old alliance with the CPI(M) publicly. He seemed to prefer backdoor manoeuvring rather than staging noisy public showdowns, as witnessed in the case of several Congress leaders who recently switched their allegiance to the CPI(M).

Mr. Philip told The Hindu: “The ball is in the CPI(M) court. Like V. R. Krishna Iyer, I am a socialist and not a communist. If the party feels I am a liability and has no further service to render, then there is no point in lingering.”

Mr. Philip had aligned with the Left in 2001 after he fell out with the Congress leadership over monopolising of Assembly and Parliament seats by an elite few. He famously contested against Oommen Chandy in the Puthupally constituency in the 2001 Assembly elections and lost.

Ties intact

Mr. Philip denied that he had fallen out with Mr. Vijayan. “My relationship with the CPI(M) and Congress leaders are intact,” he said.

The ambivalence about Mr. Philip’s future political tack remained a cliffhanger for now. However, eyes were on Mr. Chandy, who is scheduled to fete Mr. Philip’s long innings in politics at a public function here on Monday.

A Congress insider said Mr. Philip's “return” to the Congress would end CPI(M) monopoly of playing the Machiavellian hand to engineer defections from other parties. “Two could play the game,” he said.

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