Thursday, March 17, 2011

CPM keeps popular Achuthanandan out of polls

By Punem sexena-THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM has decided against fielding chief minister V S Achuthanandan in the assembly polls, signalling it would rather court defeat than have him again as CM, said party sources. The decision to keep the party's most popular face out shows the Communists have not been able to settle in-house squabbles .
Reports from the CPM state secretariat meet on Wednesday said state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, the CM's rival, too had opted out. This leaves home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan to spearhead the party's campaign in the elections scheduled for April 13.
Officially, the CPM did not confirm these reports. But the party state committee later in the day ratified the secretariat decision on VS.
Prakash Karat attended both party meetings. Party sources said a formal announcement on VS must wait two more days. By then, the candidates' list would be finalized.
Emerging out of the secretariat meeting, the man himself refused to be drawn into a conversation on his candidature. He said "those responsible for giving the answers will give them."
Angry VS followers took to the streets in Kasargode district, Thottappally in Alappuzha and Eerattupettah in Kottayam soon after the news broke. VS has never had cordial ties with the official faction led by 'once-upon-a-time' aide Vijayan. Their differences had earlier seen the duo being suspended from the party politburo. Subsequently, VS was expelled from the politburo.
Sources say speakers at the secretariat were critical of VS for deviating from the party line (read official faction) and embarrassing it on several issues. Politcal observers, however, feel the party will have a lot of explaining to do if it does not allow another term to VS who is seen as a clean man.
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