Defiant Marxist veteran VS Achuthanandan on Monday skipped the CPI(M) state committee meet over differences with the local leadership as the party elected Kodiyeri Balakrishnan as the new secretary in Kerala.
Achuthanandan (93) had walked out of the state conference on Saturday after party secretariat unanimously passed a resolution dubbing him a renegade. To humiliate him further Achuthanandan was also dropped from the newly-constituted state committee. However a seat has been left vacant in the committee but he would be elevated only after he toed the party line.
In a statement Achuthanandan said he could not attend the state conference as long as the resolution that criticized and called him an ‘anti-party leader’ existed. “As long as the reference against me remained I cannot attend the meet. I have already communicated this to the party general secretary,“ he said in a brief statement before the meeting.
However, he did clarify whether he would be quitting the opposition leader’s post. Since the party had openly criticized his ‘anti party’ stance it would be difficult for him to retain that post. Though he called a press meet in the morning it was called off after senior leader Sitaram Yehury reportedly requested him not to precipitate the situation.
The party apex committee, Politburo, had rejected his demands and asked him to attend the meet first.
After his unanimous election, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan admitted that the crisis dampened the spirit of conference. “VS should have expressed his reservations in the meet. Still there are many opportunities for him and the party would try its best to take him along,” he said.
Besides scrapping the resolution against him, Achuthanandan had also wanted the party to take action against those involved in T P Chandrasekharan (Marxist rebel) murder case.
Achuthanandan has been fighting a lonely battle in the party for more than a decade. Though the official faction (led by outgoing secretary Pinarayi Vijayan) had tried to clip his wings on several occasions the party central leadership, fully aware of his popularity, had bailed him out on such situations. He is the only surviving leader of the party who stormed out of the CPI national executive to float a new party in 1964. Once Pinarayi was his protégé but later fell out with him when he was elevated as the state secretary 16 years ago.