The rift between the two Communist parties in the ruling Left coalition came out once more in the open on Saturday when neither CPI Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran or any of his party colleagues took part in a meeting called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here to discuss issues concerning land in Munnar in Idukki district.
Vijayan ensured that this “boycott” by the CPI gets maximum media attention as the media was allowed to cover his speech during the meeting, which was a departure from routine.
He pointed out that this meeting was called after there was a request from all parties from Munnar to find a solution to the long standing problems related to land. He read out the names of leaders from the CPI who had asked for the meeting to be called.
Chandrasekheran was at Kottayam taking part in a meeting and also spent an hour with his state party secretary Kanam Rajendran.
“I am here, so how I can take part in the meeting in the state capital,” Chandrasekheran told reporters in Kottyam.
Rajendran spoke sternly, saying he finds no reason for holding of the meeting.
“What’s the use of this meeting as the Kerala High Court is looking into this issue. Anyone can call a meeting, but the law is there to take care of it,” Rajendran pointed out to reporters in Kottayam.
CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan tried to play down the absence of the CPI Minister and said everything is fine in the Left coalition.
Former Revenue Minister and senior Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan remarked that if the CPI has any self respect left then they should withdraw support to the Left government, as the collective responsibility of the government has disappeared.
Vijayan and Rajendran have been sparring against one another on numerous occasions. Early this week, Vijayan while addressing a meeting had said that “some people are here who think that it’s they who are the ultimate and control everything.” When the media asked Rajendran about this, he said, “I don’t think he was referring to me.”
The standoff between the two premier Communists parties in Kerala has been coming out in the open ever since the Vijayan government assumed office in May last year and they publicly sparred over the manner in which the Right to Information Act on cabinet decisions was dealt with.
The CPI early this year expressed its displeasure when the Kerala government diary saw the names of CPI Ministers below that of other allies, even when the CPI is the second biggest ally of the Left coalition.
The convention of printing the names of Ministers in alphabetical order was also not followed.
Following the protest by the CPI, the dairy went for a reprint.
The two parties also clashed in the open when two Maoists were shot dead by a special police team in the deep forests, with the CPI strongly condemning the police act.
It was in 1964 that the CPI-M was formed after it broke away from the erstwhile Communist Party of India. During the 70s the CPI had joined hands with the Congress party to run the state government, after which it returned to the Left fold.