With several controversies hitting the LDF government in the State recently, the people are furious and cautious over whether their expectations over the Pinarayi Vijayan government would ever be met.
After the new government was sworn in on May 25, 2016, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s style of functioning and the projects he announced focusing on development and social welfare had evoked certain hope in the people. It is true that the voters had not wished for any miracle when they chose LDF over corrupt-UDF. But they had expected that the Left government’s path would be different from that of the UDF, which faced several controversies and allegations. All was well until E P Jayarajan, who was the biggest name in the LDF cabinet after the CM, was forced to resign as the Industries Minister following allegations of nepotism.
The allegations raised against a prominent leader and his subsequent resignation damaged the reputation of the government. Even then, the bold stand the CM and the CPI-M leadership adopted in the issue impressed the people. They were convinced that the LDF is seemingly better than the UDF in taking a stand in corruption issues. But, as the days passed, there came encounter-killings, UAPA, and custody deaths, hitting the Home Ministry that is managed by the very Chief Minister. The misdeeds of the police department shook the people as the incidents became a subject of channel-discussions. However, tension was eased soon as the CM and the party leadership came up with the statement that inappropriate actions of the police were against the declared-policy of the LDF government and that there would be a reconsideration in that direction.
Not so late, there came the latest one in the form of Power Minister M M Mani. Thodupuzha Additional Sessions Judge, who rejected the discharge petition filed by Mani, ruled that the CPI-M veteran would remain to be an accused in the infamous Anchery Baby murder case. The controversy over Mani remaining in the cabinet even after the court rule was taken to a new level with veteran leader and Administrative Reforms Commission chairman V S Achuthanandan coming up against Mani and writing to the central leadership of the party seeking his removal. Achuthanandan, in the letter, reminded the central leadership of its earlier direction that a person who faces trial in a case should not remain in any elected post. Although CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan refused to react to move of the veteran leader, it has to be understood that certain quarters have begun efforts to put the government in trouble by adding fuel to the controversy.
M M Mani was indicted in the Anchery Baby murder case for a second time just because of his own slip-up. It was on November 13, 1982 that Baby, a Youth Congress leader, was murdered. The police had, in March 1985, closed the case for want of evidence. It was the controversial ‘one… two… three…’ speech of Mani, the then Idukki district secretary of the party, which prompted the High Court to order a reinvestigation in to the case. The Sessions court has ruled that Mani would remain to be an accused in the case. He was the second accused when he contested the elections and was inducted in the cabinet as Power Minister following the resignation of E P Jayarajan. The party considers the nepotism allegations against Jayarajan and charges against Mani differently as the latter has a political face. That is why the CM and the CPI-M leadership that asked Jayarajan to step down are not even considering the matter of M M Mani’s resignation.
There are some in the party who see some hidden motives behind the move of Achuthanandan against Mani, who was once a close aide of the nonagenarian. They suspect that the move of VS was a part of the plan to make CM Vijayan more ‘anxious’ as the trial in the SNC-Lavalin case is all set to begin on January 4. In M M Mani’s case, it was a lack of vigilance from the part of party leadership while choosing a person to a key post that put the government in such a trouble. Mani, a murder accused, was chosen for the minister post not because the party had no one else eligible for the position. And, there is no need to remind Pinarayi Vijayan that he can rule the state well only if he can put an end to the controversies and the in-fights within the party.