The CPM seems to be passing through its worst ever crisis. In the Lok Sabha elections, it recorded its lowest ever tally. Now for the first time, a top ranking party leader will be prosecuted in a corruption case.
Kerala Governor RS Gavai’s decision to allow the CBI to proceed against state CPM boss Pinarayi Vijayan is likely to be highly embarrassing for the national leadership.
This was the last thing CPM general secretary Prakash Karat — vulnerable after the party’s poor electoral showing — would have wanted days ahead of the crucial Central Committee meeting to review the poll debacle.
The governor overruling the advice of the state government to withhold sanction is also a major snub, both to the state CPM and Karat himself.
“There is no need for Vijayan to quit,” CPI(M) general secretary had stated when the CBI first sought Vijayan’s prosecution. “He is not holding a public office. The CBI isn’t immune to political pressure. We’ll fight the case politically and legally.”
This was a startling departure from the CPI(M)’s usual position on corruption. Never before has it defended anyone facing corruption charges.
Karat’s defence of Vijayan reveals the latter’s iron grip over the state party organisation.
The state unit rallied behind Vijayan even as CM VS Achuthanandan — referring to Vijayan without naming him — spoke out in favour of ‘prosecuting the corrupt’ . Many wanted not Vijayan to resign, but Achuthanandan, for ‘violating party discipline’ and criticising corruption!
Now that the governor has given his sanction, will the CPI(M) leadership ask Vijayan to quit his party post?