For Kerala’s 65-year-old CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, wealth creation and Communism go hand in hand. Because he is a realist to the core.
Vijayan is the man behind the Rs 40,000-crore CPM Inc in Kerala with three TV channels, amusement parks, super speciality hospitals, a furniture manufacturing firm, an information technology unit and infrastructure projects.
No wonder, when Left students went to war against proposed self-financing colleges in the state, the party secretary’s son went to Birmingham in the UK. He said his son took an educational loan. But there were hardly any takers for that.
A toddy tapper’s son from the party-dominated village Pinarayi in northern Kannur district, Vijayan rose from the ranks. A student activist to the party’s politburo, his journey was swift and decisive.
Once rated as the best power minister of the state, he came close to even the chief minister’s chair in 2006. But the SNC Lavalin scam surfaced, taking the wxind out of his sails.
Wounded but not out, he slowly and steadily tightened his grip on the party, throwing out or sidelining dissenters systematically. He placed his camp followers in key positions and virtually incapacitated arch-foe and Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.
Ironically, once a protégé of Achuthanandan, he helped his mentor throw out many prominent leaders — including M V Raghavan and P V Kunhikannan, then Left and Democratic Front convener.
Vijayan even became state party secretary with Achuthanandan’s help in the late 1990s. But the two soon fell out.
At a party conclave in 2005, Vijayan humiliated his boss by defeating all his nominees in the state committee and the fight between two power blocs began.
When the CM was totally isolated in the party, he began pursuing social evils — sex scam, land encroachment, environment problems — to become a middle-class hero propped up by the media. This forced Vijayan to turn into a media-baiter, which weakened his image further.
Unlike Achuthanandan, Vijayan represents the modern face of Communism, a la Buddhadeb of West Bengal.