The Marxist government of Kerala led by V S Achuthanandan is teetering on the edge of a collapse. When the Indian National Congress (INC) romped to victory in the recent Parliament elections and Achuthanandan was questioned by the press about his party’s dismal show the Chief Minister was reported to have laughed. Achuthanandan rarely laughs. The ordinary people of Kerala would have been amused by that rare laugh. But little did they know it would kick up a lot of unsavoury controversy. The self-proclaimed ‘senior advisor’ of the Marxist Party and avowed intellectual, Sukumar Azheekode, declared that the chief minister’s laughter was a traitor’s laughter. Not content with calling Achuthanandan a traitor, the intellectual went on to describe his laughter as “obscene”. Soon the chief minister became a shameless creature that “excretes in its own cage.” Eventually the intellectual demanded a dialogue from the chief minister as if the latter had perpetrated some crime on him.
Azheekode, however, is only the lighter side of the hot issue. The real issue is the corruption charge against a Marxist minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, who is accused of having swindled millions of rupees from a deal with SNC Lavalin, a Canadian firm. Vijayan has more clout in the party than the chief minister. Most of the senior party members support Vijayan. They even got the State Assembly to avert the case against Vijayan. But the state governor jettisoned the political game and gave sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] to prosecute Vijayan. Achuthanandan defended the governor’s action.
Kerala now has a Chief Minister who has lost the support of his own ministers. But the Marxist Party knows very well that the Chief Minister has the popular support; the people know that Vijayan is not quite innocent. The party chief, Prakash Karat, would love to show the door to Achuthanandan and save Vijayan. Has Karat too benefited from the Lavalin deal? No, of course, he thinks that Pinarayi Vijayan is innocent. The people of Kerala may not agree, though.
The Opposition consisting chiefly of INC is demanding the resignation of the chief minister who seems to have lost the support of his ministers. One thing is sure: Achuthanandan has become a loner in the party. And loners don’t survive in democratic politics.