THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For a party that swears by austerity, the C PI(M ) turned a large page on Wednesday by sinking chunks of cash into Delhi newspapers and going to town with Kerala leader Pinarayi Vi jay an.
The jacket advertisement, dressed in loud communist red and bearing the words “Committed to turn Kerala into a truly God’s Own Country”, appeared hours before Vijayan took oath as the Kerala chief minister that evening.
This newfound show of extravagance by a party sworn to protect the interests of the poor drew criticism from the public on several counts. “I couldn’t believe it. The party seems to be changing… as if it’s taking a corporate path,” said CK Prince, a government official from Kerala whore sides in Mayur Vihar, East Delhi.
Others found fault with the reference to divinity in the slogan. Although the phrase “God’s own country” is widely used in tourism advertisements aimed at promoting Kerala, it’s not as common in the parlance of communists — who are self-confessed atheists.
Grammar Nazis, not to be outdone, pointed out that an advertisement on the country’s most literate state cannot afford to have language usage errors.
However, the biggest grouse against the advertisement seemed to be the Left party’s supposed embracement of personality-based politics. Given the communist belief that the party should always take precedence over the individual, the prominence accorded to Vijayan by the advertisement raised many an eyebrow.
“It seems as if the party is taking a leaf out of Narendra Modi’s book. Its media blitzkrieg has beaten even those financed by corporate houses. Moreover, cult worship is not part of the communist culture,” said Leftist writer and thinker U mesh B abu. T here was no need for the CPI(M ) to give Vijayan a national launch, he added.
Interestingly, the same party-over-individual principle was used by Vijayan’s supporters to bring party rival V S Achuthanandan to heel during their power-tussle a few months ago.
A senior party leader, however, said the advertisement was issued in response to W est B engal CM Ma mat aB an erjee’ s‘ Ma Ma ti Ma nu sh’ campaign. The Trina mool Congress had brought out full-page advertisements featuring the firebrand leader following its emphatic victory over the Congress-Left alliance in the eastern state.