It may not surprise many who know Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan closely that he finally decided to attend the valedictory of the Nava Kerala Yatra. His keeping away from the function against the party line would have been untenable in a party such as the CPI (M). Mr. Achuthanandan knows this well, and he does not have the wherewithal to quit the party. He takes unassailable stands against corruption and other issues and reneges on them to keep his position.
It is to be noted that many of his ideals or agenda, other than those relating to communism and his politics, do not come from deep-routed convictions. Many are ideas and agenda thrust upon him, by his well-wishes and those who were (once) close to him, to project his image. So, it is not surprising that he changes his colours when it becomes a question of survival.
For example, he was a leader who used to speak against environmentalism and environmentalists before he became the Opposition Leader. His fight against the filling up of paddy fields was just an old communist style agitation of encroaching into others properties and slashing down standing crops over labour issues. However, his aides managed to give it the character of a struggle to conserve the environment. Soon, he turned into crusader for environmental causes. It was easy for those who were close to him to “convince him” to take up such fights for he was very amenable to persuasion. But his “convictions” vanish in adversity. Thus, his fight against the land mafia and those destroyed the environment at Munnar turned into a project for giving away forest lands. He had no hesitation in dropping those who aided him.
He had become a crusader to protect Kerala’s interests in water agreement with Tamil Nadu under the influence of a journalist. However, one of his first actions after becoming the Chief Minister was to make moves to give away waters of Neyyar in a platter to Tamil Nadu. (He was apparently under pressure from the Central and Tamil Nadu leadership of his party. Besides, the LDF wanted PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudhani to be released from jail in Tamil Nadu.)
He did pretty little to carry forward his campaign against illegal lotteries, encroachment at Kovalam and the like though he had been given the image of a crusader by his supporters. A Central government agency gave a certification to the hospital against whom he had campaigned over a kidney racket. He did not wink an eye when that happened. Kerala’s stand continued to be same as that stated by UDF Government on endosulfan– there is no conclusive proof that endosulfan caused the tragedy in Kasargod district.
His pro-women campaign ended with posting a few women officer at top posts, with no impact on any sphere. He looks on as the government turns away from use of open source software. (He knew nothing on the subject and he adopted the cause just because it had the trappings of a fight against neocolonialism.) In fact, he has compromised on all the major issues he had taken up as Opposition Leader.
Tailpiece: Achuthandan has once again given a tit for tat to Pinarayi Vijayan– this time in response to Pinarayi’s for his narration of the Urdu story about sea and its waves. Well, the Chief Minister is still being the Opposition Leader. As Chief Minister, he should be acting instead of speaking out.