Weakening of Mr. Achuthanandan Sunday, Jul 12 2009 

Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan

Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan

The CPI (M) Central Committee has decided to weaken Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan and not to throw him out from the party for the time being. This is in strategic deference to minority opinion opposed to action against Mr. Achuthanandan alone for indiscipline, sparing party State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan (Pinarayi was being spared despite his role in factionalism in the party).

However, the State leaders had for long adopted the strategy to weaken him gradually and eventually throw him out from the Chief Ministership. CPI (M) Ministers have already expressed their lack of  confidence in him besides the State unit.

So, democratically and politically, Mr. Achuthanandan’s continuance as the Chief Minister of the State is untenable, but for the people’s support he is enjoying. However, there is no device to measure his current popularity. (Some opinion polls during the Lok Sabha elections had shown that the Chief Minister is still popular with the masses.)

Three years of Achuthanandan’s rule has been a disaster. He has not been showing any initiatives for months now, after those on the Smart City project and the eviction of encroachers at the beginning of this term which did not bear fruit. So, the administration is as good as paralysed on several fronts. The only notable exception is welfare of farmers, fishermen and other weaker sections. Mr. Achuthanandan could be saying that this was because his party virtually did not allow him to function. But that does not materially alter the fact that the State is missing good governance.

Of course, Mr. Achuthanandan moral stands and fight against corruption has value. But tangible results are yet to be seen. Even in the case of Lavalin case, successful prosecution is unlikely.

So, the fundamental question is whether continuance of Mr. Achuthanandan would benefit the State. Under the present circumstances, the damage outweigh the benefits. So, Mr. Achuthanandan should be submitting the resignation of his ministry.

If he has popularity independent of the party, theoretically he should be able to come back to power.  Practically, however, he would need a strong party and its machinery which is not easy to build even with earlier oustees from the party. Besides, he cannot recommend the dissolution of the Assembly without a Cabinet decision.

V. S. is a fighter who does not forget his ire. He knows that he can inflict more damage on his opponents by being in the party than outside. The game will continue with each side trying to weaken the other side, at the cost of the public.

CPI-M again challenging rule of law Sunday, Jun 7 2009 

Kerala Governor R. S. Gavai

Kerala Governor R. S. Gavai

The CPI (M) is challenging the rule of law by observing a black day against decision of the Governor R. S. Gavai sanctioning prosecution of CPI (M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

The issue here is not Mr. Vijayan’s innocence or guilt, but the requirement that he should stand trial like any citizen of this country. Even bias in the investigation is not a valid justification for trying to undermine the due process of law. Everyone is equal before law. In the case of Mr. Vijayan, the CBI investigation was directly supervised by a court of law and prima facie a case has been established.

The Constitutional provision requiring prior permission of the Governor for prosecution of people for anything done in their capacity as Ministers is merely intended to ensure that those who held such positions are not unnecessarily harassed for bona fide action taken in the discharge of their duties. It is not an instrument to protect people from the consequences of wrong doing.

What the CPI (M) is doing now is reminiscent of what Indira Gandhi did after she was unseated by the Allahabad High Court for electoral malpractices. She changed the law to save herself and declared emergency to stay in power. Mr. Vijayan is using Government machinery and the party machinery to save himself from the due process of law. The party is directly challenging a Constitutional authority. The organisational power of a political party is not to be misused to save an individual.

If the illiterate people of India could deliver a crushing defeat to Indira Gandhi, the fate awaiting the CPI (M) is clear. In fact, the people has already spoken through the Lok Sabha elections.