July 13, 2009 1:44:57 am
Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan,who was thrown out of the CPM Politburo on Sunday,is one of the founding fathers of the party. The leader,who would turn 86 in October,was among the 32 leaders who walked out of the national executive of the CPI in 1964 to float the CPM. He has been a Central Committee member of the party right from the formation of the party and Politburo member since 1986. At the peak of the factional fight in the Kerala party in 2007,Achuthanandan and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan were suspended from the Politburo for a few months.
Achuthanandan has been the state secretary of the party from 1980 to 1992 in a single stretch,but could not return to that powerful post in the later attempts marked by shades of factionalism. In the party state conference held in 1998 in Palakkad,he virtually wrested the control of the party by decimating the CITU lobby led by the late E Balanandan. Achuthanandans nominee Chadayan Govindan was made the state secretary. When Govindan died later that year,Achuthanandan elevated his then devotee Pinarayi Vijayan to that post. However,soon the mentor and the disciple began to pull apart over controlling the party and its shift towards capitalistic trends.
While Achuthanandan was elected as the Opposition leader in 2001,Vijayan got promoted to the Politburo in 2002. In two other state conferences held since then,Vijayan ensured a firm control over the party,strong enough to seek the resignation of his one-time leader. As the LDF convener from 1996,Achuthanandan had faced the wrath of the public when he led an agitation against reclamation of paddy fields. Scores of farmers suffered losses when their cash crops were destroyed for conserving paddy cultivation.
However,that stigma got cleared during his innings as the Opposition leader from 2001 to 2006,marked by his concern over social issues. He took on the sex rackets,real estate lobby,the forest mafia and several other areas which cried for public attention. The veteran showed extra interest in taking up controversies and murky affairs in which his own partymen were allegedly involved. This further endeared him to the masses,but distanced him from the party. He took several corruption cases of Congress leaders to the court. Even now,he is fighting such corruption cases in the Supreme Court.
However,in the ugly factional fight in the state unit,the rivals gave little respite to Achuthanandan. The rival leaders,the party newspaper and pro-Left intellectuals lined up to breath fire on the veteran. For a writer,Achuthanandan was an outdated saint,while another leader compared him to rust.
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