Sunday, February 15, 2009

CPI(M)- The loss of the cult status

The recent turmoil within the ruling party in Kerala is not new. The factionalism has reached gargantuan proportions and the VS-Pinarayi factions have reached the brink of seperation. Way before the 2006 elections, the two factions were fighting vehemently for supremacy. These facts are not music to the common Malayalee. But what has shaken the psyche of an average Keralaite is the attitude of the Central Polit Bureau . Though it is the first time that a member of the party's supreme body has been accused of a grave misconduct of these proportions, it is really the first time that the famed party of supposedly high moral standards has come out in open support of the state party chief Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mr. Vijayan does not deserve to be punished at this point of time. Though there are rumors of prime-facie evidences into mishandling of the SNC Lavalin deal, Mr Vijayan , like any other Indian citizen deserves the right to defend himself. A mere accusation does not transalate into conviction. But where the party lost out is its moral standing in not asking Mr. Vijayan to stand out. A decade ago , even a minor accusation would have resulted in a thorough scrutiny from the party high command. Any comrade would have stepped down from his post to uphold the morals and the values of the party. All these have changed in the last few days. The CPI(M) has downgraded itself to the same standards of just another party.

There may be many reasons behind Prakash Karat's decision to rally the part behind Mr. Vijayan. He has his own political compulsions. With Lok Sabha elections around the corner he is trying to salvage the state for his numbers. The Nandigram has severly dented the party's pro poor image in the left bastion of Bengal. Karat never dreamt of a repeat of the 2004 performance for the part in Kerala. Nevertheless, he was confident of a reasonably good performance harping on the popularity cum charisma of VS and the deft organizational ability of Mr. Vijayan.

I have a hunch that Karat has misplayed it this time around. Before the 2006 assembly elections he cleverly read the political climate in the state after the denial of party ticket to VS. He also took the extra ordinary step of going against the wishes of the Pinarayi faction by giving an assembly ticket to VS. Mr. Karat will be in for a surprise in June. There are many factors working against the CPI(M) and his decision to piggy back the Lavlin on the party itself would well be disastrous. Though there is not much anti incumbency against the government ( thanks to the unfailing popularity of the CM), the common man is generally fed up of this political drama. The people are fed up with this government with the CM and his council of ministers moving in opposite directions. Discordance within the ministry has spilled over into the administration too. Be it the much touted Smart City deal or the Vizhinjam project ,the government is not seen to be delivering.

But the biggest fall out in the minds of the people has been the loss of credentials for the party in the past few days. No one expected Mr. Karat to rally the entire party machinery to salvage a state party chief. In doing so, he has undone decades of cult status the party cultivated. Even when the party things that sounded unreasonable, it was almost impossible for even the harshest critics to condemn the CPI( M) as a corrupt party. With his last press conference, Karat has altered the dynamics and locus standing of the party politics in Kerala once and for all. CPI( M) can never again contest elections with a superior moral authority. Mr. Vijayan might emerge scot free in the coming months. But the party as such is headed for a total rout in Kerala. That is for sure.......

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