The CPI-M has suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of party rebels in the Shornur municipal elections in Palakkad district of Kerala on Wednesday. Palakkad is the home district of CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.
Of the nine seats contested for, the Janakiya Vikasana Simiti (JVS), an umbrella organisation of expelled party leaders, has won eight seats. This is for the first time that the rebels found a common platform to fight the party.
The municipal corporation at Shornur, around 300 km north of Thiruvananthapuram, where the CPI-M enjoyed uninterrupted power for 28 years, was in news recently after the party expelled M.R. Murali, who was the municipal vice-chairman, for alleged anti-party activities.
Soon after, eight CPI-M councillors resigned in protest, leading to fresh elections. Now Murali is set to become chairman of the municipality with Congress support. A known follower of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Murali said, “It is a verdict against oppressive tendencies of the party.”
The Shornur victory is likely to give a fresh impetus to the growing faction feud in the CPI-M. Though the CM has often pleaded with the ruling faction to take along the dissatisfied workers, the latter never paid any heed to his advice.
Similar problems are brewing in many parts of the state, especially in Ottapalam and Vatakara.
The Ottapalam MP, S. Ajaya Kumar, recently escaped disciplinary action only after the intervention of the central leadership.