Che Guevara’s dictum, “To accomplish much, you must first lose everything,” must have been taken to heart by CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat. Nothing else explains his weighing in on the side of Kerala state CPI(M) chief Pinarayi Vijayan, accused in the Lavalin case, at the cost of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan. The CM, dropped from the politburo, appears to have committed, in Mr Karat’s eyes, the cardinal sin of not supporting Mr Vijayan whom the CBI has named as an accused in one of the biggest power scandals in the state. Clearly, Mr Karat knows something that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) doesn’t.
In humiliating Mr Achuthanandan, one of the stalwarts of the communist movement, Mr Karat has ensured that the party, already limping after the Lok Sabha elections, will be further marginalised in the 2011 Assembly elections. The poor show in parliamentary polls should have led to some serious introspection with Mr Karat being made accountable. But so great is the fear of reprisals that no one has dared to raise their voice against Mr Karat’s authoritarianism. Far from rebuilding the party, he has further fragmented it in a state where it was pre-eminent.
Retaining Mr Achuthanandan as Chief Minister while expressing lack of faith in him is a perfect recipe to lay the blame for future political failures at his doorstep. Mr Karat has never had to face an election beyond his college days. It is people like Mr Achuthanandan who have to galvanise the rank and file. But then, as we have seen, with Mr Karat it's always been his way or the highway.