New Delhi: A soon-to-be released biography of former chief minister V S Achuthanandan has raised uncomfortable questions regarding the assassination of CPM dissident T P Chandrasekharan nine years ago. “How can one hack to pieces another human being like this? You should at least think about that. What is the point of being a human?” the veteran communist asked in angst.
Achuthanandan had embarrassed his party’s leadership when he visited Chandrasekharan’s house soon after the shocking murder on May 4, 2012. “He was hacked to pieces. The brutal murder shocked everyone. All sections of people condemned the cruelty. He was a healthy youngster with no criminal background. He was a social activist with popular appeal. He was an area committee member of the CPM at Onchiyam. He was the son-in-law of veteran (party leader K K) Madhavan. Above all, his wife and son depended on him,” reads the Malayalam biography written by P Jayanath, former senior news editor of CPM mouthpiece ‘Deshabhimani’.
After Achuthanandan paid his last respects to Chandrasekharan, journalists scrambled around him for a comment. “Chandrasekharan was a brave communist,” he had said, distancing himself from his party’s official condemnation of the dissident whose new party had dented CPM votes in its stronghold Onchiyam.
The memoir, published by Thrissur-based Current Books, also mentions Achuthanandan’s surprise loss in the Mararikulam assembly election in 1996, his pursuit of the Lavalin case that put party colleague Pinarayi Vijayan in the dock, his candidature in 2006 and his expulsion from the party politburo in 2009. “As I went through this book, I had an honest appraisal of my life. This book is a reminder,” Achuthanandan wrote in his foreword to the book.
The founding leader of the CPM said that he never expected to be expelled from the politburo for his value-based stand on the Lavalin case. The Central Committee of the party decided to expel Achuthanandan from the Politburo on July 12, 2009. Pinarayi, however, was retained as the party secretary in Kerala.
“There was a battle going on in my mind. I was convinced about the irregularities based on evidence. The party said there were no irregularities. What should I accept? My political transparency is my work in accordance with my conscience. How could I ignore my conscience? I was in a crisis. I tried to convince (the party leadership). The Politburo did not agree. I was expelled.”
Achuthanandan was suspended from the Politburo along with Pinarayi in May 2007 too. Both of them were taken back a few months later but refused to work together. Achuthanandan was never taken back after he was suspended from the Politburo in 2009.
The biography, titled “VS-inte Atmarekha”, narrates a painful experience when Achuthanandan was accused of lobbying against his political rivals. “VS’s attempts to make the investigation more effective in the Kiliroor (sex trafficking) case was twisted out of context. He was accused of going to Delhi to meet the prime minister and the home minister to pile pressure on the accused in the SNC Lavalin case. These allegations came from within his office. There were differences in the chief minister’s office. The allegations were based on the testimony of a key member of the personal staff. The party even appointed a commission to probe the allegation.”
The book says that Achuthanandan was pained by the charges. “He felt like his political honesty was being insulted. He was confident that he had never used deceitful political tricks against anyone. That was his political asset. At the same time he was tricked many times.”
Achuthanandan was stoic as he faced the party commission investigation, which came to nothing. “That allegation was beyond what I could bear,” he said.