The CPI(M) held on to the Shornur municipality after one BJP and one Congress member tactically abstained from the no-confidence motion jointly moved by the Congress and CPI(M) rebels. An embarressed Congress later sacked K Muralidharan,who stayed away from voting.
In the December bypoll held to nine divisions of the municipality in Palakkad district,the Peoples Development Committee (PDC),formed by CPI(M) rebels,had bagged eight seats. The humiliating defeat had reduced the ruling CPI(M) to a minority in the council,occupied by it for the past three decades. The lone BJP member in the council became a crucial factor when the CPI(M)s strength was reduced to 14 in the 30-member council after the elections. The Congress-PDC alliance has 15 councillors.
As governance of the municipality became a prestige issue,the CPI(M) secretly ensured the support of the BJP in the no-confidence motion. When the notice was put for discussion on Saturday,BJP member V Unnikrishnan walked out of the council hall.
The nexus between the two parties had recently come to the fore,when a TV channel released details of phone calls between two BJP and CPI(M) leaders allegedly trading votes.
The CPI(M) clinging on to power with the support of the BJP is a moral victory for the rebels. The implicit support of the BJP would take the wind out of the CPI(M) campaign against the Sangh Parivar. The party would have to explain why its activists have been engaged in murder politics with the Parivar in Kannur,if the party can seek saffron support for sticking on to power.
Muralidharan kept away from the council meeting apparently taking advantage of the Congress leaderships failure to issue a whip,and probably thinking the party would hence not take any action against him.
The CPI(M) has lost the moral ground to continue in power. The non-confidence motion has exposed the unholy alliance between CPI (M) and BJP, said PDC convener M R Murali.