The last vestiges of communists in the CPI (M) are under seige. Jyothi Basu and Budhadeb Battacharya have already denounced socialism and have said that capitalism is the only way forward, given the ground realities.
However, a section of communists in both West Bengal and Kerala still want to stick to communist ideals, however impractical they may have become. In Kerala, communists and Stalinists led by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan is fighting a losing battle to protect the last bastion of communism.
Kerala still have some people dreaming of a just society or at least envious of the rich. They had risen in support of Mr. Achuthanandan, when he was denied party ticket for the Assembly elections and later when he moved against the land mafia. However, Mr. Achuthanandan failed them badly.
The men he deputed against the land mafia were not people who tread carefully. In a Quixotic fashion, one (Suresh Kumar) uprooted the tea plants of Tata Tea on the slopes of Munnar in the thick of a monsoon and also went to break the glasses of a resort just to attract contempt of court proceedings. But when he tread on the feet of the ruling constituent Communist Party of India (CPI), Mr. Achuthanandan could not withstand the pressure from the CPI and a section in his own party. The Chief Minister’s image went into a tailspin as he shifted the officials including the Idukki Collector Raju Narayana Swamy.
Now, within the party, he is losing in the organisational elections at the district level one by one. The party’s control will remain with the official faction, opposed by Mr. Achuthanandan. The official faction is led by Pinarai Vijayan (State secretary) who can better be described as the CEO of the party. The party, according to some estimates, controls a financial empire with net worth of more than Rs. 50000 millions. Mr. Vijayan and his colleagues had realised that capitalist enterprise is the way forward for the party also— perhaps much before Budha and Basu.
Supporters of Pinarai have also managed a coup of sorts in the Revolutionary Socialist Party. A former Minister Ramakrishna Pillai seized control of the party, which is a partner to the ruling coalition. T. J. Chandrachoodan, who lost out to him, was a supporter of Achuthanandan in many matters, and a person who intelligently and sensibly articulated his views. He led the last of the ‘revolutionary’ socialists in the party and the State. RIP.
Related: Achuthanandan’s image