Son-stroke divides CPM
Son-stroke divides CPM

Son-stroke divides CPM

Hari S Kartha

CPM is a divided house thanks to 'son-stroke'. The unprecedented but unequivocal political difference between the Kerala and West Bengal units of the Party is viewed as an expression of fuming clash between General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat. The row between the two top leaders which reached a flash point following the politburo rejecting Yechury's proposed tactical line of cooperation with Congress to fight BJP has lately assumed a new metamorphosis of the two strong state units of the Party fighting each other. The Kerala versus West Bengal phenomenon in CPM came to the fore with the allegations against Kerala party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's two sons being taken up by West Bengal state committee in all seriousness. The question whether the Communist movement in India witness yet another split in the near future assumes relevance although a bit premature.

The Kerala and West Bengal units of CPM have been pulling in opposite directions in the party for the past few months. It began with the move by the West Bengal CPM leadership to get general secretary Yechury re-elected to the Rajya Sabha with Congress support. The move was ruthlessly vetoed by the central leadership dominated by Prakash Karat thanks to the strong support of the Kerala leadership of the party. That Yechury's absence in the Rajya Sabha where he was quite effective in presenting the party line would cost CPM dearly in parliamentary politics did not deter Karat and his Kerala comrades from taking cudgels against the general secretary getting an extended term as Rajya Sabha member. Although Yechury succumbed to the party leadership's pressure and withdrew, the West Bengal comrades could not digest it. They seemed to be waiting for the earliest opportunity to avenge Karat and Kerala comrades. Again, on the question of cooperation with Congress in the campaign against BJP too, West Bengal and Kerala were poles apart. While West Bengal supported the general secretary's line of allying with Congress, Kerala opposed it tooth and nail in the politburo and central committee. In other words general secretary Yechury proposed with West Bengal's blessings and ex-general secretary Karat disposed with Kerala's support.

That proved to be the last straw on the camel's back so far as Yechury and his West Bengal comrades were concerned.

Naturally therefore when the UAE business tycoon's complaint to the CPM central leadership against Binoy, the younger son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the Kerala CPM supremo, hit headlines in the media, speculation was rife in political circles on the source from which the news leaked. It was interpreted as a deliberate leak to the media by none other than the CPM's big boss in Delhi in an obvious bid to fix the Kerala leadership of the party. Since then, the CPM leadership in Kerala in general and state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan have been at the receiving end. Both have been at their wit's end to defend Binoy and Bineesh, the two Kodiyeri sons with more and more charges of fraudulent financial deals abroad being leveled against the two sons day by day.

Disturbingly for CPM, the raging controversy over son-stroke coincides with the district level and state level sessions of the party on the eve of the party congress. Besides the whispering campaign by detractors of Pinarayi-Kodiyeri group on the charges against the state secretary's sons in Kerala, the issue came up for debate at the Thiruvananthapuram district conference. There were innuendoes against Sitaram Yechury during the deliberations in Kerala to which the West Bengal state committee took strong exception. The West Bengal leadership condemned the party general secretary being drawn into the controversy by Kerala comrades. The West Bengal leadership went a step further by urging the politburo to clarify its stand on the charges against Kodiyeri's sons.

Earlier, Yechury had much to the embarrassment of the Kerala unit confirmed having received a complaint from the UAE businessman against Binoy Kodiyeri. He also told the media that relatives of party leaders could not be allowed to misuse positions. This is seen at a dig at the Kerala secretary of the party.