A Vijayaraghavan has taken over the responsibility of the CPM's state secretary at a time when the local body elections are round the corner. He is also the Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor and as such he now occupies two important posts in Left politics. A Vijayaraghavan talks to Malayala Manorama about the current political controversies and about the upcoming elections.
How would you like to be described: as CPM state secretary or as LDF convener?
LDF convener with the responsibility of the party secretary.
It is dual responsibility that even top leaders like the chief minister do not get. How do you evaluate this?
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan started facing physical difficulties when he was leading the party well. There are two elections ahead for the party. Naturally, it was decided that someone should be able to take full charge of the party secretary's position. I have held many responsibilities beginning with the position of the SFI's (Students' Federation of India) state secretary. I was asked to take this responsibility keeping in mind the interests of the party.
Did you expect this being the LDF convenor? The Politburo did not appoint members of the central committee who did not hold such positions.
Isn't that a quick decision that was necessitated by an extraordinary situation? There is nothing unusual about it. At that time, not everything needs to be discussed in detail. This was a temporary decision. There will not be a situation where one person continues to handle all responsibilities. The other things will be evaluated by the state committee.
Kodiyeri went on leave citing illness. There are those who think that his son's arrest made him to stay away.
Those are two different things. The state secretary taking leave due to illness is entirely a party affair. His son's issue is a personal matter. Kodiyeri himself has explained his and the party's stance in this regard.
So then when he recovers, he can return to the post of the secretary.
Can't we just discuss the current situation? I can't comment on a question about what the possibilities are. This can be discussed when he recovers from his illness.
Is Bineesh's case also among the 'politically motivated' cases being pursued by the central agencies?
An attack on the party and the government is a political issue. A matter related to the son of the party secretary is a family and personal issue. Kodiyeri himself has taken a stand without mixing the two. There is no possibility for any other interpretations there. The party's stance is also that.
Will these controversies not affect the LDF in the local body polls?
There is no other government that has contributed so much to the multifaceted growth of Kerala and the welfare of the common man. People have been able to experience that. They are the judges. We are quite confident (about doing well in the elections).
The CPI's state secretary has said that all this had diminished the possibility of the LDF continuing in power.
His comment is not like those of the opposition and some media that is based on hostility. The CPI secretary is a person who desires for the situation to improve.
Why is the CPM still not ready to distance itself from Sivasankar except to trivialise the controversy by just saying that an official has done a small mistake?
It is not a minor issue if an official is involved. Isn't that a big problem? Isn't that why he remains in the custody of the investigating agencies? It's a different issue. There is no going soft on that.
According to the investigating agencies, M Sivasankar had given his support to the gold smuggling and money laundering activities of Swapna Spuresh while he was in charge of the Chief Minister's Office. Is there no responsibility on the part of the chief minister and government?
Sivasankar is an official. If he does something wrong, what can be done except to take action against him? Had it been a minister, there could have been the question of moral issues. A minister is also subjected to the ruling party's discipline. If an official commits an illegal act, he will suffer for that in future.
Pinarayi has the image of a strict ruler. There are those who are surprised by all that has happened.
What is important is the leadership initiative of the chief minister. In between that, an officer made a mistake. There is no need to connect that to the chief minister. The Kerala society is aware that Pinarayi Vijayan will not be an accomplice to something wrong.
Do you regret having sent the letter seeking an NIA investigation?
We are Communists. We are not devious. We don't have separate faces when we are in private and in public. Why should you be worried if Pinarayi Vijayan has also taken that stance? The opponent, however, adopts twisted ways. We will face that.
When the ED was investigating the K-Fone and other schemes, the CPM had said that only the CAG had the authority to do that. Has your faith in the CAG now evaporated?
The two are separate matters. No one will object if the CAG fulfils its constitutional obligation. However, beyond that, if it grows into an unconstitutional force, it should be pointed out.
Was there a failure on the part of the finance minister in examining if the CAG report on KIIFB was a draft or the final one?
This question is like that of 'pot or pot-ness' in Indian logic. The question is whether what is contained in the report is a constitutional exercise or political abuse.
Is the LDF a little relieved that the discussions have shifted to KIIFB?
It is always good to discuss about development in the state.
Ibrahim Kunju has been arrested. Is this not a political message that the state police will not sit idle if central agencies cause trouble here?
Never. The problem here is the motivation behind the decision to approach other agencies instead of going to the Public Works Department to build the bridge. He had been charged earlier in the case. The arrest is a natural process. There is no politics in it.
Is the CPI the second-largest constituent of the LDF or is it the Kerala Congress (M)?
In LDF, all the parties are equal. There is no first, second or third-largest. What is important is the strength that comes from standing together.
If later you have to pick one of the two positions you currently hold, which one would you prefer?
Any responsibility given by the party.