THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the state witnesses quite a few raging debates over the SilverLine semi high-speed rail project, its ripples are sure to be felt in the CPM party congress which will begin on Wednesday.
Though there won't be any specific discussions on SilverLine, contradictions in the party's approach towards the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project and the project in Kerala could come to the fore. While the Kerala CPM has been actively pushing for the project, the central leadership wants the Left government to address the people's concerns before going ahead.
Opposition parties have already accused the CPM of double standards for opposing the bullet train project in Gujarat and Maharashtra while supporting SilverLine in Kerala. Party leaders and delegates from outside the state too have not failed to notice these contradictions.
Sources in the leadership confirmed that such issues have already been brought to the Left government's notice. "While acquiring land, proper compensation should be given. There are some environmental concerns too. The LDF government has promised that these will be addressed," they said.
"There's a difference in the way land acquisition is being done in Kerala and other places. Still, there are concerns. The Left government has promised that these concerns will be addressed. There's no doubt that the project should be implemented after addressing all such concerns. In fact, there are other projects that should be given priority," said a central committee member from outside Kerala.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the project is just in the preliminary stage and, hence, there's no reason for protests now. Yechury pointed out that only the survey process for the project is on and detailed discussions on the project would be held later.
Even as the Left government has been moving ahead with SilverLine, the bigger question would be whether it's in line with the party's national policy, pointed out Left commentator NM Pearson. "Earlier, the party used to have a single policy that was to be toed across the country. Such contradictions were hence not possible then. Now, may be for the first time, the party is facing a situation in which even policy decisions are being taken at the regional level," he said.
The Kerala CPM has been planning a national-level political campaign to garner support for the project from delegates outside the state. In addition, there will be efforts to create awareness on the project.
Organisational activities including house visits by senior leaders to address people's concerns too are planned. The campaign wherein SilverLine would be portrayed as Kerala's development symbol is expected to be launched soon after the party congress.