Foreign varsities: KK Rema, Kuzhalnadan avenge humiliations inflicted by CPM

KK Rema; Mathew Kuzhalnadan. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: CPM state secretary M V Govindan on Monday struggled to summon all his dialectical skills to remedy the post-budget notion that his government wants to throw open education to foreign universities and private investment. "We have only said that the issue would be examined, not that it would be implemented from tomorrow," he said.

However, two opposition legislators – K K Rema and Mathew Kuzhalnadan – found in this subtle shift in the CPM's education policy the best chance to strike back at the CPM for all the insults it had heaped on them.

For Vadakara MLA K K Rema, this was her moment to hurl back at the CPM the very same epithet its then party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had used to describe her husband T P Chandrasekharan the day after he was hacked to death: "Kulamkuthi" (traitor).

As for Kuzhalnadan, he found in this subtle shift in policy to hit back at the CPM Ernakulam district secretary C N Mohanan whose allegations were the basis for a vigilance probe against him by the Pinarayi Vijayan government.

If Kuzhalnadan turned the dagger softly inside the CPM's body, Rema tore into the party. "I would like to remind the finance minister one thing," she said. "You have also come up in public life through Left student organisations. Hope you will remember how the former Higher Education Council vice chairman T P Sreenivasan was waylaid and slapped for speaking in favour of foreign universities. Along with this policy change, it would have been fitting to have an apology for Sreenivasan included in the budget," she said.

She continued to address the CPM. "This January, when the UGC announced the regulations for setting up foreign university campuses in India, it was your party that said this would compromise the sovereignty of the country. And then to announce such a policy is an affront to the very Left ideals you supposedly stand for," she said.

Rema was yet to deliver her coup de grace. "If the comrades who led the anti-privatisation agitations a decade and a half ago and suffered unspeakable torments on behalf of this struggle were given a chance to meet you in this august Assembly hall, they would look at you and call you traitors (kulamkuthikal)," Rema said.

A day after Chandrasekharan's death in May 2012, Pinarayi who was then party secretary had said: "Traitors will always remain traitors." The Chief Minister was not present to witness Rema in full flow.

Kuzhalnadan began calmly, like he was telling a story. "All of you must have seen a photograph that had gone viral recently," he said. "It is of a convocation ceremony at a university in the United Kingdom. It was a family photograph taken after the convocation ceremony of the daughter of the CPM's Ernakulam district secretary C N Mohanan."

He then recalled how the SFI had launched a violent struggle against self-financing colleges in Kerala and had sent a generation of young people to jail. "Colleges were shut down and the education sector was brought to a standstill," he said.

"In this photograph, you can see the district secretary of such a party decked out in a coat and suit and standing with great pride beside his daughter who had earned her degree from York University," Kuzhalnadan said. He added that he had nothing against parents sending their children to the best universities in the world.

"But some days back he had called a press conference and hurled some allegations against me. He said that a probe should be conducted to find out the source of my income, to see if I had amassed wealth beyond my known sources of income," he said.

In response, Kuzhalnadan had said that the CPM should investigate the source of income of its leaders. "Then Mohanan said that the party keeps accounts for even a rupee spent by party leaders. So I naturally expect that the party would have examined the expenses related to his daughter's education," Kuzhalnadan said, his seemingly deadpan remarks vaguely masking a smirk.

Kuzhalnadan said he did not intend to pose questions found on Facebook under the family picture like asking from where Mohanan had found the money to send his kid to the UK. "But there is one thing I would like to tell the CPM. There was a man who occupied Mohanan's chair before him. A man highly respected by Congressmen like myself. He had a frail body, sunken eyes and slept on the bench of the party office. He was powerful and respected even when the party was out of power. A P Varkey is his name," he said and added: "The disfiguration of the CPM can be best understood by tracing the change from A P Varkey to C N Mohanan."

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.