July 12, 2009 9:02:43 am
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat got his way today as Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan was removed from the party Politburo on charges of indiscipline and violating organisational principle. Kerala state CPM secretary Pinarayi Vijayan,the other actor in the long-running factional feud in the state party unit,got away without any action against him.
Barely an hour after the party announced his demotion,Achuthanandan indicated that he may be down but not out. The veteran Marxist,who,having sensed the direction in which the disscussions were heading,skipped the second day of the central committee meeting today,said his stand on the SNC-Lavalin graft case remained unchanged despite the party concluding that Vijayan was not involved in any corrupt practice whatsoever.
Although he said he accepted the central committees decision,he remained silent on speculation that he would resign in protest,worrying a section of the leadership.
While the party has taken strong action against stalwarts like Nripen Chakraborty and P Ramamurthy in the past,this is the first time that a Chief Minister has been removed from the Politburo. The only relief Achuthanandan got was that the central committee is learnt to have directed the state unit to accept his authority as CM and not provoke him unnecessarily.
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Sources close to Achuthanandan said he skipped the central committee meeting today because of a minor variation in his blood pressure. It is learnt that Karat called him up to explain the partys decision while senior central committee member Suneet Chopra and his Politburo colleagues Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan dropped by at Kerala House to meet him after the decision was announced.
With the state party unit seeking his exit,Karat had proposed Achuthanandans removal from the Chief Ministers post. However,following stiff opposition from several members,it was decided that Achuthanandan would be allowed to continue as CM but would be dropped from the Politburo. The central committee accepted this decision.
Sources said the decision to let off Vijayan without any action was questioned by some members of the central committee but the majority went along with the Politburos views. It is also learnt that the Kerala state secretariat,packed with Vijayan loyalists now,could be revamped soon to accommodate some VS supporters.
While the party did away with its customary press conference addressed by the general secretary,it issued a statement saying the central committee has decided that in view of the violations of the organisational principle and discipline by V S Achuthanandan,he should be removed from the Politburo.
Allowing him to continue as Chief Minister,it said Achuthanandan is the senior most leader who has made a big contribution to the party in Kerala,adding that the central committee expects VS to fulfill his responsibilities as the Chief Minister and as a leader of the party.
The central committee is of the view that Pinarayi Vijayan,secretary of the Kerala State Committee and the Electricity Minister in the then LDF government between 1996-98,was not involved in any corrupt practice whatsoever. The central committee reiterated that the party will fight the case politically and legally, said the statement.
Meanwhile,Achuthanandans loyalists held protest marches in several parts of Kerala today to protest against the decision. There were reports of Vijayans effigies being burnt in many villages. The pro-Achuthanandan demonstrations were also held in Kannur,Vijayans hometown.
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