CPM veteran and Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran has been apparently hurt by the party's decision not to let him contest again from the Ambalappuzha constituency in Alappuzha district. Meanwhile, the party leadership is reportedly upset over his outburst in response to charges that he was indifferent to the election campaign of the Left Democratic Front candidate from the seat from where the 74-year-old had repeatedly won in the three state polls since 2006.
In an interview to Manorama, G Sudhakaran puts forth his views on the party's significant moves ahead of the recent Legislative Assembly Election and whether vested interests had a role in making him sit out of the poll fray.
Ministers like T M Thomas Isaac and you have helped in promoting a good image of the State government. Did you expect the CPM to sideline you during the election?
The decision to not field those who had contested two consecutive polls was made by the party's State Committee. I was aware of the decision. There was an understanding that the State Committee could take a call on relaxing the two-term norm. District Committees, including the one in Alappuzha, had demanded the relaxation of the norm. The State Committee, however, stuck to its decision.
What made you say the ‘carpenter was expelled once the house was constructed’?
I was more active in the campaign in Ambalappuzha than I had ever campaigned when I myself had contested. I attended 38 hours of organization committee meetings in three days, and undertook a jeep rally for as many days. I was active throughout the campaign. I made the statement in the backdrop of reports that stated I was not active.
You alleged that political criminals got together in a hotel and engaged in a conspiracy over drinks. What prompted you to make the allegation?
A District Committee member informed me that a drinks party was organized in the hotel to celebrate the denial of ticket to me. People from different political parties attended the celebration. It is a political crime. A section without any values is gaining strength here. Wasn’t the memorial set up in memory of Communist Party founder P Krishna Pillai demolished?
Is there a section opposed to G Sudhakaran in the party?
I didn’t say so. Political criminals have infiltrated parties, including the Left. I said they are targeting me.
Lok Sabha member M A Ariff’s speech against Aritha Baby, the UDF candidate in Kayamkulam, and replacing your poster with that of the MP had created a stir?
I am not commenting on the MP’s speech. He himself has clarified the reference. Tearing up the candidate’s poster in Ambalappuzha became an issue. It was not Ariff who destroyed the poster. The District Committee secretary clarified that Ariff had printed the poster without the party’s knowledge.
What about your comment that the party workers in Kayamkulam were knaves?
I initiated several development activities there while representing Kayamkulam from 1996 (to 2001 until his defeat). Still, several LDF leaders, including previous people’s representatives, worked against me during the 2001 election. I didn’t say the party comrades were knaves; I said there are knaves in Kayamkulam.
The opposition leader has said G Sudhakaran with a clean image was denied a party ticket to make the corrupt contest the polls. You were behind the execution of the rebuilt Palarivattom flyover and Alappuzha Bypass projects. Since you were not in the fray, were these achievements effectively used during the campaign?
The first part of the opposition leader’s observation is correct. I am not corrupt. The second part that only the corrupt would be made to contest is a political statement. I was given the Registration and Public Works departments, known for corruption. The scale of development activities taken up during the past five years is unprecedented. The public works’ initiatives were the major talking point in all the 140 constituencies.
Ministers who had created a good image were sidelined, but K T Jaleel was allowed to contest. Doesn’t it send a wrong message?
Jaleel is not a party member. The decision to avoid those who had contested two times was made by the party
Is there a generational shift in CPM?
It cannot be said as a generational shift, since the age difference is mostly eight or 10 years. The older and younger generation come together to comprise the party. Can we kill the older generation in the name of generational change? EMS and AKG were at the party’s helm till death.
What will be Sudhakaran’s political and literary future?
I will continue in politics. I have published 17 collections of poems and two more are on the way.
You are constructing a house at your place of birth. Are you planning to shift there?
The place is Vedaraplavu in Thamarakulam, (16 km south-east of Kayamkulam). My parents and martyred brother Bhuvaneshwaran lived in the house my younger brother constructed after getting a job. My siblings gave me that house to ensure it is kept in good shape. All of us together are reconstructing the old house.
How will the party use G Sudhakaran?
I will work in Alappuzha. I had twice relinquished state secretariat membership since I was not interested. I wish to take up a responsibility that I would enjoy.
Will you return to the electoral arena?
It need not be discussed now. Assembly election is five years away. There are three more years for Lok Sabha polls. I don’t aspire to contest again.