Kerala

CPI(M) backs CM, scotches rumours of differences

The State secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] on Tuesday appeared to throw its weight behind Chief Minister Pinaray Vijayan in an attempt to counter the propaganda that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (VACB) raid on Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) offices last week was an undisguised flare-up of the simmering, but largely shrouded, divisions in the party and the government.

The CPI(M) sought to scotch the “disinformation” that the public condemnation of the raid by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and senior leader Anathalavattom Anandan was an overt manifestation of the “growing bitterness" in the party against Mr. Vijayan’s authority.

Ministers’ endorsement

Moreover, three Ministers had publicly endorsed Mr. Vijayan’s position that the inspections were routine and conducted periodically at the Vigilance Directorate level.

Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran said in Alappuzha that the Vigilance did not require to inform Ministers beforehand about surprise inspections. “The VACB conducted raids on 12 PWD offices. I came to know about the inspections through media. I remained silent,” he said.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran echoed a similar sentiment. Industries Minister E. P. Jayarajan said Mr. Vijayan had set the record straight. “The CM’s word is final. It was not a raid but a regular inspection,” he said.

‘Benifitted opponents’

The CPI(M) secretariat appeared to have frowned upon on the public utterances damning the VACB raid.

It felt that the statements had benefitted opponents who used them to spread the impression that the party and government were riven by internal feuds. The party felt such comments were immensely avoidable in the election scenario.

Nevertheless, the secretariat seemed to give the leaders the allowance that their anxiety to protect the public image of the KSFE as a credible financial institution had prompted the public comments.

The party’s statement on the issue did not mention any person by name. However, it echoed Mr.Vijayan’s sentiment that a section of the media had aligned with the Opposition to campaign against the government.

Congress charge

The Congress interpreted the CPI(M)’s position as a blow to Dr. Isaac’s credibility. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister and the party had disowned him.

Three Cabinet colleagues had publicly scoffed at Dr. Isaac’s claim that the Vigilance headed by Mr. Vijayan should have consulted him. His continuation in government was untenable.

Dr. Isaac reacted rather stoically to the developments. He said he would confine his opinion on the subject within the party and state his case internally after the elections.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:45:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cpim-backs-cm-scotches-rumours-of-differences/article33224206.ece

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