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VS, Vijayan may get sacked

The Kerala unit of the CPI(M) is in the throes of difficult times, with Governor RS Gavai deciding to approve the prosecution of state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin scam, reports HT Correspondent.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2009 00:17 IST
HT Correspondent

The Kerala unit of the CPI(M) is in the throes of difficult times, with Governor R.S. Gavai deciding to approve the prosecution of state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin scam.

And the situation is being worsened by the fierce infighting between the camp led by chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan and the one loyal to Vijayan.

In fact, the internal bickering was mainly responsible for the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, with the 13-year-old Lavalin saga also playing its part in a big way.

In 1996, then Congress-led United Democratic Front government got the Kerala State Electricity Board to sign a deal with SNC Lavalin of Canada for replacing and modernising three hydel projects.

When Vijayan joined the cabinet as power minister, he personally led the renegotiation of the contract and went to Canada to seal the deal in 1998.

The state government agreed to pay Rs 149.15 crore more for buying equipment from suppliers chosen by Lavalin, since the company itself did not manufacture the equipment.

Later, the CBI took up the case, made Vijayan the ninth accused and asked the governor for the permission to prosecute him, which was sanctioned on Sunday.

Among all these rumours, state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan launched an attack on Governor Gavai for directly conveying his sanction to the CBI.

He said, “The Governor has created a serious constitutional crisis … It is difficult to understand why he did not inform the cabinet of his decision.” This was curious, as it’s the job of the chief minister to address the media on such issues.

There are rumours that the party will go in for a major surgery in the state. There are even reports that Vijayan has offered to quit if the central leadership replaces the chief minister.

A senior CPI(M) functionary said on condition of anonymity, “It is a golden opportunity for the party to correct some of its recent mistakes. Both the chief minister and the state secretary will have to go. If you change one, the situation will worsen further.”