Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Kerala state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who is embroiled in a multi-million rupee graft case, on Thursday said that he will attend the party's politburo meeting in New Delhi Feb 14.
The CPI-M is expected to discuss the escalating tensions between Vijayan and Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan during the meeting.
Addressing reporters in Thalassery town in the midst of the statewide Nava Kerala Yathra that he is leading, Vijayan said he will be heading to the national capital to participate in the politburo meet.
"The yathra will go ahead. It is only that the captain is going to be away for a few days. The yathra has other five full time members and I will be back," Vijayan said.
On Wednesday, a small group of the chief minister's supporters gathered outside the Kerala House in New Delhi to raise slogans against Vijayan, who has been accused in a multi-million rupee corruption scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for wrongly awarding contracts to renovate two hydro-power projects to Canadian company SNC Lavalin 12 years ago when he was power minister.
The protest, which took place just five minutes after the chief minister left for the airport, saw five to six supporters of Achuthanandan raise slogans praising him and the CPI-M and declaring that Vijayan was corrupt.
Achuthanandan, who is also a politburo member and has refused to attend the state-wide Nava Kerala March led by Vijayan, Tuesday denied the politburo's claim that the CBI probe against Vijayan was a political conspiracy.
"The CBI investigation into the case was held under the observation of the Kerala High Court. So, as a chief minister, who is bound to the constitution of the country, I cannot take a stand against the court," Achuthanandan told reporters in New Delhi.
The scam and the rift between the two senior leaders has severely damaged the image of the party in the state.
Former CPI-M leader M V Raghavan, who was booted out of the party a few decades back, said everyone was waiting for the politburo decision.
"All wish to know if the politburo would wield the axe of discipline on Achuthanandan to protect Vijayan who has been named an accused in a graft case. The rules of the CPI-M are abundantly clear that they just cannot protect a comrade who indulges in corruption," said Raghavan.