The CPM state secretariat that met here on Tuesday in the backdrop of the controversial Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) vigilance checks gave Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan its full backing and reprimanded finance minister T M Thomas Isaac for his public utterances against the Vigilance action.
The internal churning in the party over the Vigilance raids have, therefore, been settled in favour of the Chief Minister. The party has also decided to desist from any public comment on the issue, including anything faulting Isaac. The CPM wants to blot out any impression of infighting.
In fact, Isaac was politically silenced a day ago, when the Chief Minister told a press conference that there was nothing improper about the Vigilance flash checks in 40 KSFE branches on November 27.
The Chief Minister also said that there was sufficient proof for the vigilance to go after the KSFE. Nothing could have a greater rebuff for the finance minister who was so furious with the vigilance action that he called the people behind it "crazy". Isaac had even gone to the extent of asking KSFE officials to block Vigilance officials from entering their premises.
Senior leader and CPM State Secretariat member Anathalavattom Anandan, who too seemed as disturbed by the Vigilance checks as Isaac, had called the move a conspiracy plotted by people working for the interests of private financial institutions.
Top CPM sources said the general view of the Secretariat was that Isaac and Anandan had overdone their objections. The Secretariat seconded the Chief Minister's statement that the Vigilance had the power to carry out routine checks, without even informing the minister in charge. It was felt that such non-interference should be sold to the public as a major strength of the LDF government.
The Secretariat was also of the opinion that the public statements by Isaac and Anandan had given rise to the impression that there was division in the party. There was consensus that the party should put up a united front.
Isaac was further alienated when three ministers - E P Jayarajan, G Sudhakaran and Kadakampally Surendran - came out in open support of the Chief Minister saying there was nothing wrong in the Vigilance action.
This is not to say that all of Isaac's arguments were thrown out of the window. The finance minister raised two points in which the Secretariat found some merit.
One, he questioned the need for the Vigilance to leak sensitive information about the flash checks. Two, he said that media reports that people were using KSFE chitties to launder black money could give central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate the right excuse to barge into KSFE branches.
The Chief Minister, sources said, promised Isaac that he would look into the issue.