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CPI-M meet ends on stormy note, Achuthanandan defiant

CPI-M meet ends on stormy note, Achuthanandan defiant

Alappuzha: The four-day state conference of CPI-M in the state ended here Monday on a turbulent note with sharp differences between party's founding-leader V S Achuthanandan and the leadership remaining unresolved and the veteran was omitted from the 88-member new state committee.

Even though the party leadership tried to bring him back to the conference which he boycotted from the second day on February 21, the 92-year-old leader stuck to his demands, including withdrawal of critical remarks against him in a recent resolution passed by the party's state secretariate.

Breaking his two-day silence after the boycott, a sulking Achuthanandan, the leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, issued a statement in Thiruvananthapuram justifying his decision as he defied yesterday's Politburo directive to attend the meeting.

Since the resolution terming him as an "anti-party activist" still remained, it was improper for him to attend the meet, he said.

"A party state secretariat resolution terming me as an anti-party activist still remains. In the present circumstances, I kept away from the meeting as I am convinced that it is not proper for me to participate," he said.

However, the former chief minister welcomed the removal of certain critical remarks against him in the working report of the conference and expressed hope that the remaining comments would also be dropped after the Politburo examined them.

The state conference today elected Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan as the new party state Secretary to succeed Pinarayi Vijayan who held the post for the past 16 years.

The meet also nominated 177 delegates for the party congress to be held in Vishakhapatnam in April and decided to constitute an 88-member state committee.

Of the committee, 87 were elected and one seat was kept vacant.

Justifying party decision to omit Achuthanandan from the committee, Balakrishnan said he was one among the eight leaders who were replaced from the committee.

Balakrishnan, who takes over the party leadership in the state which would go for assembly elections next year, also said the party resolution had not termed the veteran leader as an anti-party activist but only mentioned that he had an 'anti-party mindset'.

"The party will give all consideration to Achuthanandan. He is a senior leader and the party still has more expectations from him," Balakrishnan said, adding that the leader could still attend the state committee meeting as he is a member of the party's central committee.

The nonagenarian leader's boycott of the conference had triggered speculations that he would take hard steps like demitting the post of the Leader of the Opposition.

In a bid to reach out to the veteran, party's general secretary Prakash Karat himself talked to him over phone and asked him to turn up for the concluding session of the meet.

The latest crisis in the party was precipitated on the eve of the conference after a dissenting note of Achuthanandan, citing 'serious flaws' in the conduct of the state unit under his arch foe Vijayan, was published in a section of media.

The issue flared up after the state secretariat came out with a virtual indictment of the senior leader for shooting off a letter to the central leadership castigating party affairs under Vijayan.

Later speaking at a public meeting, Karat wanted Achuthanandan to continue being part of the communist movement in Kerala.

Stating that Achuthanandan was an inherent part of CPI-M, he said the party's wish was that the veteran leader would continue to be part of the communist movement by adhering to the discipline and norms of the party.

Referring to Achuthanandan's boycott of the meet, Karat said the conference had a certain disappointing moment.

"I requested him to come back and attend the conference because as far as we are concerned, Achuthanandan is an inherent part of our party and Communist movement in Kerala," he said.

Karat said the communist movement had been enriched by the glorious example of many leaders, starting from Krishna Pillai and later when CPI-M was formed, A K Gopalan, E M S Namboothiripad and many other leaders.

All of them had contributed to take the Communist movement forward, he said.

"All of us are collectively responsible for the party and the movement, which is not belonging to any individual leader or community. This is the common property of the people of Kerala," he added.

Criticising the Congress-led UDF government in the state, Karat said they are incapable of taking on the "communal agenda" of the Hindutva forces.

CPI-M would also unleash mass struggle against the "anti people" policies of the state and Central governments, he said.

Thousands of CPI-M activists took part in the rally, organised as part of the state conference.

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