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CPI unhappy with Pinarayi govt, fissures within Kerala Left deepen

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran raised several issues, including the killing of Maoist leaders in encounters with security forces and handling of engineering student Jishnu Prannoy’s suicide.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2017 00:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran has expressed serious reservations over the functioning of the 11-month-old Pinarayi Vijayan (in pic) government.(HT file )

The simmering discontent between two largest constituents of the ruling Left Democratic Front - Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India - came out in the open on Thursday after CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran expressed serious reservations over the functioning of the 11-month-old Pinarayi Vijayan government.

Rajendran came down heavily on the government citing a number of issues, including the killing of Maoist leaders in encounters with security forces, handling of engineering student Jishnu Prannoy’s suicide, the stir at Kerala Law Academy Law College and encroachments in Munnar, a hill station in Idukki district.

“We raised our concern when the government deviated from left ideology. It is about to complete a year in office and let us see how it functions during the remaining term,” he said.

Rajendran also said the party was waiting for the Malappuram bypoll to get over to answer many CPI(M) leaders, including Prakash Karat, over a string of issues. Recently, Karat reminded the CPI that it was part of the coalition, not in the opposition.

“We have not taken the opposition role. We will remain as a corrective force. We are here to see LDF views and policies are implemented,” he said adding the party was waiting for a meeting to iron out the wrinkles.

Upset with the one-man style of functioning of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPI has been raising its voice for some time. Both parties have turned to social media to vent their anger against each other. Leaders of both parties have taken divergent views on key issues including large-scale encroachment at Munnar.

CPI(M)’s central committee member EP Jayarajan criticised Rajendran in a Facebook post 2 days ago, saying his style and words were against coalition ethics. “Rajendran has to explain some of his recent statements. It is not proper for a partner to criticise the government like this,” Jayarajan wrote.

The latest round was triggered after the attack by a group of CPI(M) workers on an eviction team headed by Devikulam sub-collector Sriram Venkitaraman, a young IAS officer who has taken on encroachers and land mafia, on Wednesday.

Though police personnel were present at the site, they ignored Venkitaraman’s directive to remove protesters fearing local resistance. Later, Venkitaraman was forced to contact his senior officials to rush more force to evict the protesters. With Venkitaraman remaining adamant, CPI(M) workers themselves demolished the encroachments later.

State revenue minister EP Chandrasekharan, belonging to the CPI, has criticised the move and backed the sub-collector. CPI(M) leaders have been exerting enough pressure on the minister to transfer the sub-collector but he has refused to budge.

“Officials were implementing the government’s policy to remove all encroachments in Munnar. It is unfortunate that police officials failed to provide adequate security for them,” the minister said.

However, power minister MM Mani, who hails from the same district, lashed out at the CPI and media for painting Munnar in a bad light. He went to the extent of saying that the revenue portfolio was not reserved for the CPI forever.

The famous hill station has been witnessing encroachments for some time. The rash of development — from tourist lodges to dams and power plants — has been threatening the fragile ecosystem of the area.

There are two national parks and two wildlife sanctuaries, home to more than 3,000 species of flowers, endangered birds, insects, mammals and amphibians around Munnar.

First Published: Apr 14, 2017 15:30 IST