Taking a contrary stand from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Marxist veteran V S Achuthanandan today said there was “nothing to hail” in Alphons Kannanthanam, a former Left sympathiser, becoming a Union minister. In a statement, the nonagenarian leader said Kannanthanam, who began his political journey as a CPI(M)-supported independent legislator in 2006, had moved to the BJP camp for more facilities and it should not have happened to a fellow Left traveller. Vijayan had congratulated Kannanthanam for becoming a member in the cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Describing Kannanthanam as a “long-term” friend, Vijayan said the ministerial post was an “Onam gift” to him and hoped that it would give him more strength to work for the state. Achuthanandan said Kannanthanam’s case showed that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) should be more vigilant while selecting candidates. The Left leader’s remarks come at a time when Kannanthanam is on his first visit to Kerala after assuming office as the minister in the BJP-led NDA government. “A fellow Left traveller should never have become a tool to implement fascism in the country. It (the change of affiliation) was the indication of political decay and there is nothing to hail in this,” Achuthanandan said.
Kannanthanam should have realised that the interest of the nation and politics were more important and not individual positions, he said. It was during the tenure of Achuthanandan as chief minister of Kerala that Kannanthanam, a bureaucrat-turned- politician, was a Left-supported legislator in the state assembly. The Union minister, however, played down the veteran’s comments. “He has become old and so he can say anything,” he said.