Drama in Kerala for the second time – people power pushes CPM to back Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan

In Kerala, there is a constant power struggle within the ruling CPM party (actually the ruling front is the Left Front, but the CPM is the main party and decides who gets to be the Chief Minister); the party apparatus has been totally taken over by the State Secretary of the party in that region, Pinarayi Vijayan. Vijayan has a total control over the CPM structure in the state of Kerala, but is unable to get the top post. In the last election in 2006, the state party had won the elections and initially decided that the 82 old year leader V S Achuthanandan will not be the Chief Minister candidate. However, V S Achuthanandan was the most popular leader of the party and there was a groundswell of opinion that forced his selection as the Chief Minister. In the 5 years that he was ruling, he was always at logger-heads with the members of his party, never getting their support. Many of the ministers in the government did not listen to their own Chief Minister since they owed their position to the state secretary.
It is not like the wily Chief Minister did not do anything. He promoted a legal case against Vijayan and also led a series of measures against land grabbers that were opposed by the other members of his party. And he retained the support of the population of Kerala who consider him a very honest politician, as compared to the other members of his party who are not seen in the same light. But, it is never easy to make you way when your own party is against you, and the central leaders of the party also do not come out on your side. So, the Chief Minister was even kicked out from the central politburo because of the ongoing dispute with Vijayan; imagine that a party is only in power in 2 states, and the Chief Minister of one of the states is kicked out from the central politburo of the party.

And then came the drama about how to ensure that the Chief Minister is removed for the next election; simple, ensure that he is not given a state legislative seat to contest. And that is exactly what happened, the various committees declined to give a seat to V S Achuthanandan. This was done on so called health grounds, although the Chief Minister stated that he was perfectly willing to contest if given a chance. And then as it has happened before, the same amount of drama happened – various supporters of the Chief Minister protested all over the state, forcing the central leadership to back down and ensure that V S Achuthanandan was granted a seat. With the thought that the party may lose the Government in West Bengal, it is even more critical that the party do well in Kerala, and the Chief Minister is their hope to do as good as possible. There is no wave in the state against the party, like it is in West Bengal, and the party cannot allow the rivalry in the state cause harm to the political presence in the state.

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