Alappuzha: The spectre of a power struggle is haunting the CPM in the Alappuzha district. The struggle for an upper hand is likely to come out in the open with the announcement of the results of the Legislative Assembly election on May 2.
Most moves are centred on Minister G Sudhakaran, who, most leaders said, had led the party from the front during the campaign to the April 6 polls.
It is learned that a move is afoot to pillory him after closely monitoring the poll results of Ambalapuzha, Alappuzha, Aroor and Kayamkulam constituencies that fall within the district. Defeat or loss of votes in these constituencies may spark severe criticism against Sudhakaran. In Aroor, which CPM lost in the by-election, local issues, too, will be debated after the results.
The minister’s followers too suspect that he would be held responsible if the results failed to meet the party’s expectations.
The minister had recently expelled a member from his personal staff. Pro-Sudhakaran party workers feel it was unnecessarily made a talking point to prepare the ground for holding the minister responsible for the poll results.
A few other leaders hinted that it would go beyond holding Sudhakaran responsible, and the debate would extent to election-related issues.
There were even allegations from certain quarters that he was inactive in the assembly poll campaign. In his defence, Sudhakaran provided a break-up of hours he had spent in election meetings and other poll-related work.
How the Minister upset the party
Sudhakaran had recently made certain comments that has displeased the party leadership. One comment was that ‘political criminals’ were targeting the minister, and another was about a section celebrating the denial of a seat to Sudhakaran by holding a booze party.
The party, so far, has not responded to these allegations. The minister was denied an opportunity to contest the polls again as per CPM’s two-term norm.
M A Ariff, MP, and party district secretary R Nazar denied the presence of ‘political criminals’ in the CPM. Ariff said if the minister names the criminals, the party would act against them. Nazar said he was ignorant of the criminals the minister had mentioned.
Meanwhile, a Facebook post by CPM district secretariat member K Raghavan grabbed widespread attention. “Does martyr G Bhuvaneswaran’s family deserve insult? Who is smiling behind the scenes,” he asked in the post.
Bhuvaneswaran, Sudhakaran’s brother, was killed years ago.
Liju joins issue
Even as allegations of anti-woman comments were levelled against Sudhakaran, M Liju, the Congress candidate from the Alappuzha seat, joined the issue, supporting the minister.
Liju is also the president of the District Congress Committee.
The Congress leader clarified that he would not support attempts to target Sudhakaran over baseless allegations. Liju’s statement, which came close on the heels of KPCC general secretary A A Shukkoor criticising Sudhakaran, was widely noticed.
The pro-Sudhakaran section has been arguing that the party should act on the negative trends that the minister had pointed out. Sudhakaran has been the party strongman in Alappuzha ever since he won the state leadership’s appreciation for successfully organizing the party meeting from which V S Achuthanandan had staged a walkout.
The CPM and its committees at different levels in the district were under Sudhakaran’s control. Currently, his rivals are trying to gain strength across the district.
Sudhakaran’s followers have been trying to paint him as a loyal party worker, who had turned down offers of high posts.
Woman hands over video to police
A woman, who accused Sudhakaran of making misogynist comments, handed over the video recording of the minister’s news conference to the police.
The complainant is the wife of CPM's Purakkad local committee member G Venugopal, who was expelled from the minister’s personal staff. Police had recorded the statement of the woman, a former SFI activist.
CPM district secretary R Nazar, meanwhile, refuted reports that the Purakkad local committee had discussed the matter and criticized the minister.