CPI(M) politburo meet in Delhi today

Thiruvananthapuram, May 24 | Updated: May 25 2007, 07:17am hrs
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat is in for an unpleasant trouble-shooting job on Friday, as two politburo (PB) members from Kerala have locked horns publicly for comfort.

For CPI(M), finicky about throwing a cloak of secrecy over the smallest differences between party members, the all-holds-bar statement war between members of its topmost panel, has emerged a nightmare of the worst kind.

The fighting duo - Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and CPI(M) party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan - have on Thursday left Thiruvananthapuram for the PB meeting in Delhi. And not without a spirited last round of verbal shots, before the meeting in Delhi. "His is not the courtesy (that) one PB comrade should get from another," Vijayan had burst out to the media. "And vice versa.." retorted Achuthanandan promptly through another press conference.

The factional feud had been an open secret for a long while, with Karat having to rush down to Kerala with olive branch several times. Often, the feud was portrayed as Achuthanandan's `left aberrations' or Vijayan's `right aberations.' PB gave Achuthanandan the candidature (at an election, which later made him the Chief Minister) regardless of the state unit's displeasure. An exasperated party supremo had even openly admitted to the media - despite the party's historic stiff upper lip - that the fissure did exist.

The latest trigger comes from a renewed balance of the two power blocs in the state unit. Achuthanandan's public appeal is at its zenith, following razing down of resorts set up by big business groups on encroached land, but his party support is diminishing. In the last couple of weeks, Vijayan had neatly executed the ouster of Achuthanandan faction from nearly all local party units.

As the big meeting of state party unit is drawing near, the two power blocs are game to a stocktaking of each other's weaknesses. The 83-year old leader hit out with an innuendo ("he who uses the term `media-syndicate" said CM and media-syndicate' is a term usually associated with Vijayan). But the party secretary fell straight into the bait. "Achuthanandan should never have left me in bad light," he said, forgetting that Vijayan's name was never specifically mentioned.

The feud is once again bleeding for top-level intervention. Although, success-rate in whisling down the differences is not encouraging, Karat and West Bengal comrades have no go but to play the dove once again.