Veteran CPM leader V S Achuthanandan, who has been in the eye of the storm following his open outburst against party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, his open condemnation of the party for its alleged role in the T P Chandrasekharan murder and for a series of acts amounting to breach of party discipline, has once again got off lightly by getting only a public censure from the party.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said that VS had violated the basic party discipline while making open outbursts against the state leadership.
The statement issued by him after the central committee meeting observed that VS’ ‘remarks had helped provide opportunity to the opponents to attack the party.’
At the same time, Karat said that the central committee hoped VS to work unitedly to take the party forward.
The message given by the party central leadership was that it was in no mood to come down harshly on VS as wished by the party official faction of the state unit led by Pinarayi Vijayan.
The fact that the official faction had failed to convince the central leadership to initiate strong disciplinary action against VS will have a deep impact on party cadres as well as large number of people who had a strong interest in the affairs of the party.
The present central leadership, which lacks the tradition of sacrifice unlike the yesteryear stalwarts such as EMS, Basava Punnaiah, P Sundaraiah or even Harkishan Singh Surjeet, did not have the moral courage to strike at a leader of the caliber of VS, it has been proved once again.
They were held back by the popular support enjoyed by VS.
Unlike in the past, Pinarayi Vijayan had even prepared a dossier containing the details of the sins committed by VS and he had personally met the other PB and central committee members seeking strong action, including expulsion of VS from the party.
In the event of the party not agreeing to expel VS from the primary membership, the official faction wanted him at least removed from the post of the Opposition Leader.
But the fact that there were only few or no takers in the politburo to the demand for sacking VS was a severe blow to the state secretary.
His concerted efforts to expedite the expulsion of VS or other serious disciplinary action against him had ended in vain in the party central committee which met continuously for two days.
VS, on the other hand as a pragmatic communist, has once again played his role very well.
He fought the war lonely and utilised the opportunity to lambast the discredited state leadership which has been under a cloud of suspicion following the TP murder.
He knows that it is wise to play it safe and go on the defensive whenever it is unsafe to go beyond the limits.
Like a shrewd communist, he was self-critical at the crucial session of CC meeting.
According to sources, he admitted that his visit to T P Chandrasekharan’s house on the day of the Neyyatinkara by-poll could have been avoided.
At the same time, he argued that his comparing Pinarayi Vijayan to S A Dange was a lesser sin compared to the serious ‘’rightist deviation’’ of the party state leadership.
The politburo patiently gave him another chance to explain his position before passing the resolution publicly censuring him - a chance denied to even Somnath Chatterjee before his expulsion.
At this stage too VS persisted with his demand for a probe into the TP murder and serious action against M M Mani, who made the controversial statement on listed killing.
Forcing the central leadership to order a probe into the TP murder and ask the state committee to initiate strong action against Mani, as demanded by him, VS has once again held his ground sustaining only minor bruises.