TAMIL NADU

Contests do not indicate factionalism: Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 31. The CPI(M) State secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan, has admitted that there were vestiges of factionalism in the State party, but asserted that contests that took place as part of organisational elections in some places could not be termed factional in nature.

"We are not so narrow-minded as to describe contests (that take place as part of organisational polls) as factional. We know how to recognise factionalism when we see it," Mr. Vijayan told a news conference here today. He also declared that there was no difference of opinion in the party now and that there was absolute political, ideological and organisational unity in the party today.

Asked about the politburo member, V.S. Achuthanandan's complaints about the conduct of organistional polls in Alappuzha, he said complaints if any would be examined. He claimed that a successful effort had been made during the last four years to rid the State party of factionalism. Everybody knows what was the situation when the Palakkad conference of the party was held. There was a strong bid to destroy the party. This could be tackled with the help of the Central leadership. Some were expelled from the party as part of this. But they were not alone. There were others who aligned with forces of deviation. The party made a sincere attempt to rescue them.

Still, there were attempts by a section of the media to make it appear that the `Save CPI(M) Forum' was strong and capable of taking on the party. The media's bid to divide the party into the CITU and CPI(M) groups was part of this. Led by persons like V.B. Cherian, some persons in Ernakulam contested against the party in certain trade union elections. In some places, they won and in others, the party won. Corrective steps were taken during the last four years and this produced remarkable results. Although vestiges of factionalism might still be there, these should not be exaggerated.

Mr. Vijayan said there had always been this attempt to make it appear that the party was divided under two leaders. This was there in the undivided Communist Party as well. The attempt in recent times was to depict the CPI(M) as a party divided into groups led by the two senior-most leaders, E.K. Nayanar and V.S. Achuthanandan. When he became the State secretary, his name has come to be associated with a group. It was by accident that he took over as State secretary of the party and there was no meaning in his name being associated with any group.

Mr. Achuthanandan, he said, was a respected leader of the party and described the media reports dubbing him as a faction leader as being intended to lower his esteem in the eyes of partymen. It was also intended to delegitimise the party leadership as a whole. Though such propaganda would not work in the case of people who know about the functioning of the party, ordinary people were likely to be carried away by it. This was probably intended to ensure that youngsters from homes that subscribe to million-copy newspapers do not join the ranks of the CPI(M) and thus this could be only seen as a clever ploy to destabilise the party, he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the party State committee, which concluded its three-day meeting here on Wednesday, had approved the draft performance report. The report would be presented to the State conference being held in Kannur from February 15 to 18. The conference would be attended by 552 delegates, including 475 elected delegates and 77 members of the present State committee, eight observers and four veterans, he said.

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