The past four years have seen Kerala’s CPI(M) veteran VS Achuthanandan regularly earning the wrath of the party brass for "indiscipline". But on Thursday, he was hailed as a poster boy of anti-corruption by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. And VS is not alone.
Tripura’s first communist chief minister Nripen Charkaborty, who was unceremoniously expelled for nine years, has also earned Karat’s praise.
In a signed article on "How will the AAP shape up?" Karat resorted to six communist legends to claim that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues are emulating communist style of functioning by adhering to simple lifestyle. Referring to AAP ministers’ refusal for large official accommodations and to stick to their modest housing, Karat said, "This is the tradition set by communist leaders in public office.
Communist chief ministers like EMS Namboodiripad, Jyoti Basu and Nripen Chakraborty set the example." While pointing out that former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya lived in a two bedroom flat, Karat added, "VS Achuthanandan, has the image of an incorruptible leader." VS was suspended from politburo during Karat’s tenure while Chakraborty faced the axe in 1995.
While Karat hailed Jyoti Basu for sticking to their "modest housing", political opponents quickly pointed out that Basu stayed in a two-storey government bungalow Indira Bhawan in posh Salt Lake area of Kolkata.
Ironically, even as Karat spoke about clean image and incorruptibility as communist traits, Chakraborty had once slammed Basu as "fountainhead of corruption" after the former’s expulsion.