Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s image hit after row over arrest of CPI(M) workers


The government and the CPI(M) State leadership will now have to take corrective measures to clear the air ahead of elections

The controversy courted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kerala leadership over the arrest of two-party activists from Kozhikode on charges of Maoist links and the divergent views aired by the party’s central leadership and its coalition partner, the Communist Party of India, over invoking the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the two youth have rendered a minor jolt to the concerted efforts of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to secure a second consecutive term in office.

Mr. Vijayan has started eliciting the views and suggestions of different sections, including leaders of the mass and class organizations of the party, retired bureaucrats and professionals, to initiate a course correction and also make the best use of the remaining tenure of the government.

A continuation of the current Left Democratic Front regime is deemed to be imperative in taking forward many important development projects, including laying of the GAIL LNG pipeline and the development of the National Highway that had gained momentum since the Left Democratic Front government assumed office.

Drawing flak

The arrest of Alan Shuhaib and Thaha Fazal, CPI(M) workers hailing from families having strong party links, had drawn the flak of senior leaders like general secretary Sitaram Yechuri, Prakash Karat, and M.A.Baby and also the local leadership. The national and state leaders of the CPI too had been strident in their criticism of the government for invoking the UAPA and made a fervent plea to adopt a lenient view to the youth as well as the Maoists killed in a firefight with the police in Palakkad earlier.

The controversies have cast a slur on the image of the LDF that had been basking in the glory of the impressive performance in the by-elections held to six Assembly seats. It has also put the brakes on the initiatives launched by Mr. Vijayan to return to power with an enhanced majority.

The electoral setback suffered by the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the factional fight within the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party was perceived to make the task easy for the LDF. But the current differences of opinion within the party and the front over the arrests and the decision to invoke the UAPA, a law that has been determinedly opposed by the Left parties, have brought Mr. Vijayan’s image-building efforts under a cloud.

The government and the CPI(M) State leadership will now have to take corrective measures to clear the air and convince the party cadre and the public that the national and state leadership, as well as the CPI, are on the same page in matters pertaining to the UAPA and human rights before starting preparations for the local body elections next year and the general Assembly elections in 2021.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)