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'Send VS to Bengal for classes'

Poll 2006 has seen him emerge as the star campaigner for UDF, desperately seeking a second innings in Kerala.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 18:12 IST

Poll 2006 has seen him emerge as the star campaigner for UDF, desperately seeking a second innings in Kerala. Unlike most of his ilk, Union minister for overseas affairs Vayalar Ravi calls a spade a spade, making him an interviewer's delight.

In a chat with the Hindustan Times, the wily politician spells out the difference in the Congress's equations with the CPM at the Centre and in Kerala. Excerpts:

Though you share power with the CPM at the Centre, you are one of the worst Marxist-baiters.

True. In Delhi it is more polished and accommodative. But it's different here. How can you tolerate a person like Achuthanandan who has a sadistic approach to development? He smells corruption in every deal and blocks the state's hard-earned development projects. The party should send him to West Bengal to study Buddha's projects.

Do you have any plan to cash in on the group rivalry in the CPM?

The CPM will sink under its own weight. We don't have to do anything, party secretary Pinarayi and Achuthanandan will fight it out. But let me tell you, the party's rank and file is confused. The leadership has become a laughing stalk by projecting a leader one day and dumping him the next day.

Like CM Oommen Chandy, you too opposed the last-minute patch up with Karunakaran.

Initially, I did. But now we are moving in the right direction as a single unit. All our differences will be settled after the polls. Our primary aim is to win and continue the development agenda set out by the Chandy government.

Recently you termed the CPM a communal force?

We never sought help from Jamaat-e-Islami or the People's Democratic Front of Abdul Nasser Madani. None of our leaders visited Madani in Coimbatore jail to curry for votes. But the CPM sent MP TK Hamsa to Coimbatore central jail. And the JD(S), sharing power with the BJP in Karnataka, is an LDF ally. Can the Left dump the JD in Kerala?