A day after the CPI(M) Politburo rejected his demand for the removal of scam-tainted state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan,Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan on Sunday gave a clear signal that he would continue his fight despite the party throwing its weight behind Vijayan.
I will continue my fight against corruption, Achuthanandan said without directly referring to the SNC-Lavlin case in which Vijayan is an accused. Achuthanandans comments,his first after the Saturdays Politburo meeting,is an indication that he was down but not out. I have been fighting against corruption and I will continue this fight, Achuthanandan said before referring to his legal battle against three prominent leaders of the Congress-led UDF in the state K Karunakaran,R Balakrishna Pillai and C V Padmarajan. His referring to the Palmoil,Edamalayar and Brahmapuram corruption cases,in which Karunakaran,Pillai and Padmarajan face corruption charges,without referring to the Lavlin case per se is seen as a conscious attempt to convey a clear message to the party leadership without defying the Politburo line or triggering another controversy.
But,apparently irked by the CMs remarks,Vijayan said in Kochi that his rival had taken up the legal battles and other issues as per the collective decision of the party. Achuthanandan is a product of the CPI(M). He had taken up battles as his own decision. All the corruption cases fought by Achuthanandan were either in his capacity as the party state secretary or as the Opposition Leader, said Vijayan. He said the decision of the Politburo on the Lavalin issue could not be interpreted as victory for one section or defeat for another.
Meanwhile,Achuthanandans remark has come as a boost for his camp,dejected over the party stand on Lavalin. Despite the repeated violation of party discipline,Achuthanandan has returned from the Politburo without any injury. Going by Politburo justification that Vijayan need not step down on the ground that he was not holding any public office,his detractors see that Vijayans return to an office of profit would be delayed due to the CBI case.
It is learnt that at the Politburo meeting Achuthanandan put across the argument that Vijayan had benefitted from the Lavalin deal,which did not have the approval of the state secretariat. However,party general secretary Prakash Karat later said the decision to go ahead with the deal was examined and approved by the state secretariat.