The Communist Party of India-Marxist's (CPI-M) move to drop Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan from the politburo saw the intra-party feuding in Kerala spill on to the streets as hundreds of his angry supporters held a march here Monday to protest the party's action, only to be attacked by cadres of the rival faction.
The streets of Alappuzha, the home district of Chief Minister Achuthanandan, looked like a battlefield as hundreds of his supporters held a march and shouted slogans in his favour. They came under attack by supporters of the powerful state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Even media persons covering the event were not spared. Vijayan supporters allegedly brutally beat up the crew of Malayala Manorama TV.
The unsavoury events come a day ahead of the CPI-M's state level meeting here which will be attended by Karat.
Achuthanandan, 85, was removed on Sunday from the politburo on the ground that he constantly defied party directives.
The pro-Achuthanandan marchers, who began their march at Ambalapuzha, came under heavy attack from the supporters of Vijayan, which was led by a local village council president.
The Vijayan supporters, after first taking on the rivals, turned their ire towards the mediapersons. The group, which was armed with sticks, singled out the media, asking each one to which organisation they belonged before attacking them.
The electronic media has been covering the events in the CPI-M at length for the past three days.
A reporter of a TV channel alleged that the police stood as mute spectators to the havoc that was unleashed by the agitators.
Protest marches were also taken out by Achuthanandan supporters in several places in the state.
In Kollam, the marchers shouted slogans against party general secretary Prakash Karat and Vijayan.
Achuthanandan and Vijayan have been at loggerheads, with the chief minister insisting that Vijayan be removed as party state secretary after being named an accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the SNC Lavalin corruption case.
The Vijayan faction, in turn, has demanded that disciplinary action be taken against Achuthanandan for "violating party discipline".
The CPI-M's central committee Sunday said that Vijayan "was not involved in any corrupt practice whatsoever" and chided Achuthanandan for violating party discipline.