The CPM has once again censured V S Achuthanandan weakening his position within the party but boosting his cultivated image of a crusader among the general public in the twilight of his political career. However,this time,the disciplinary action may be to the advantage of both VS and his detractors.
VS is now new to disciplinary actions or reprimands. The action against him for going against the party line on the Kudankulam nuclear plant though is the first time the state leadership has him in a corner.
If party insiders are to be believed,the CPM had decided to ignore VSs abortive bid to visit Kudankulam to pledge support for those protesting against the plant. However,the state leadership forced its hand producing a tape of the interview VS had given to a local news channel criticising general secretary Prakash Karat and calling his argument for Kudankulam foolish.
Knowing that this evidence couldnt be ignored,the state leadership spearheaded by VS bete noire Pinarayi Vijayan demanded action against him.
All along,Achuthanandans popularity has been a hurdle in the central leadership trying to fix its perennial troublemaker. This time though,the censure served to him did not create even a ripple in Kerala.
In controversy over land allocation to a relative during his tenure as chief minister and for his son allegedly being hired out-of-turn,VS is also facing a dent in his teflon pro-people image. The Kudankulam issue was seen as a desperate bid by him to divert attention.
The CPM central leadership is now waiting to see the chargesheet that the the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is set to file in the land allotment case. If he is chargesheeted,VS will have to quit,and the CPM could have found a way past a periodic headache.
Manoj is a special correspondent based in Delhi