The CPI(M) central leadership on Thursday came out in support of beleaguered Kerala state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan,who has been named in the multi-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case,even as his detractors in the faction-ridden state unit sharpened their knives against him.
Vijayans bete-noire CM V S Achuthandandan rushed to New Delhi and met party general secretary Prakash Karat,ostensibly to apprise him of the political fallout of the development that has come months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. It is learnt that the CM was in favour of Vijayan stepping down from the post.
After Achuthanandans meeting with Karat,the party Central Committee issued a statement saying the steps taken by the CBI to prosecute Vijayan in the case was politically motivated. Before the statement was issued,Karat is learnt to have sought the opinion of the Politburo.
It should be recollected that the then Oomen Chandy Government had referred the case to the CBI in 2006 after the vigilance inquiry ordered by it had exonerated Vijayan. The CPI(M) had condemned that move stating that it is being done on the eve of the Assembly elections for partisan purposes. Now,with the advent of the Lok Sabha polls,once again the case is being proceeded with, the statement said.
The use of Central investigating agencies by the ruling party for political purposes should be a matter of serious public concern, it added.
However,sources said the party had not taken a final call on the matter yet and was waiting for the CBI to file the chargesheet. The probe agency is slated to file the chargesheet on January 27. Sources said there was a possibility of a full Politburo meeting before January 30 to take a decision. The top brass of the party wracked their brains all through the day and was learnt to have arrived at an understanding that it should back Vijayan for now and project the case as a political one. It,however,waited for Achuthanandan to arrive and meet Karat before issuing the statement.
Meanwhile,some fissures are visible in the Pinarayi camp. A section within the party sees an ulterior motive behind Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnans revelation that Pinarayi was the former minister tipped to be prosecuted. Had Kodiyeri maintained restraint,the party would not have been forced to address the issue at a short notice,sources pointed out.
Except for close aide E P Jayarajan,no CPI(M) leader from the Pinarayi side had openly reacted in favour of their beleaguered leader.