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CPM politburo meets to decide fate of squabbling Kerala leaders

india Updated: Jul 04, 2009 13:38 IST
CPI-M politburo meet hopes to clear Kerala mess

Tough measures may be on the cards as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo meets in Delhi on Saturday to address the bitter feuding between two veterans of the party's Kerala unit - Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan.

"The situation in Kerala unit is very grave. We will clear all the mess," said a senior CPI-M leader on condition of anonymity.

The politburo has to address demands by Vijayan and Achuthanandan during its special meeting, which is unusual in the party's history. While Achuthanandan seeks the removal of Vijayan - an accused in a multi-crore SNC-Lavlin scam, from the post of party state secretary - Vijayan wants the exit of Achutanandan from the chief minister's post for violating party discipline.

"We are facing certain organisational problems in Kerala. The politburo will deliberate upon it in detail. I cannot say anything more," politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai told IANS.

Achuthanandan is believed to have been in favour of prosecuting Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin scam.

Meanwhile, the dominant faction in the Kerala unit led by state secretary Vijayan is on the verge of a split, with group leaders lobbying against another politburo member and state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Though Balakrishnan is in the Vijayan faction, he has adopted a moderate approach on the controversies that shook the party recently and the rivalry between Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Vijayan.

The move against Balakrishnan has been strengthened in the wake of the politburo to discuss 'disunity' in the party's state unit, said a well placed source, who is active in the Vijayan camp.

"A malicious propaganda is being carried out against Balakrishnan and his family by the staunch supporters of Vijayan in the party. The move is aimed at spoiling Balakrishnan's chances of becoming chief minister or party state secretary if there is a change of guard in the near future," a well placed source close to Balakrishnan told IANS.

At the same time, the Achuthanandan camp has begun efforts to earn the support of Balakrishnan before the politburo meeting starts, sources say. Apart from Vijayan, Achuthanandan and Balakrishnan, Ramachandran Pillai is the other politburo member from the state.

Achuthanandan believes if he gets the backing of Balakrishnan, he can get Vijayan removed from the state secretary's post, the sources say. In return, he will support Balakrishnan for the post of party state secretary, they say.

The central leadership of the party has been in a piquant situation on the party's Kerala affairs. The party was forced to suspend both Vijayan and Achuthanandan two years ago when they indulged in a public spat. The party withdrew the suspensions after a few months.