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Vilakudy Days

Saturday, March 18, 2006

THE CRYING BUDDHA


IS PINARAYI KERALA’S BUDDHA?

Kerala, they say, never exists in the country’s political map. Kerala shares its 15 seconds of limelight in the National media through ayurveda, tourism, the tag of the most-literate state (no more it is). And it is one of the states where the Communists still have a strong presence. A correspondent of a national daily tells me that he is “tired’’ of doing stories on the same topics again and again. Then, for the last two months, there is Sreeshant (not Sreesunth).
Now out of the blue, the media has found a whipping boy in Achuthanandan, the 83-year-old Marxist warhorse, which was tipped as Kerala’s next chief ministerial candidate. Suddenly, things changed. VS, as he is fondly called, had lost out to the Pinarayi Vijayan group and the party has decided not to field him in the elections. There comes the story: as many as three National dailies have written editorials on the issue arguing that a hardliner like VS has been thrown out of Kerala’s CPM’s poll race by a reformist Pinarayi Vijayan. The Lutyen’s Delhi’s armchair journalism is at its best here. The English media is known for taking stands without bothering to find out the ground realities. The Express, which usually carries reliable stories and still remains one of my favourite papers, has compared Pinarayi Vijayan to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. This will be the biggest insult- the insult by US ambassador David Mulford looks much smaller- on Buddha in his life. Those who follow the Kerala politics seriously know what Pinarayi is made of. VS, for that matter, has toured across the state and knows the state like the palm of his hand. Whereever there were serious issues where the common man was affected, VS was there. From Wayanad to Parassala, he was in the forefront of not just party’s agitations, but problems faced by the common man. Cutting across political lines, he has been termed the most sincere leader in Kerala now. And his palms are not greased. Pinarayi was always considered as a party strongman in the politically volatile Kannur. There his job was to take the RSS, a very strong force in Kerala, head-on in the political battles. Let there be no doubt about it, there he was highly successful. That was limited to Kannur alone. But there ended his contributions to CPM and Kerala. And there are various allegations against him over the years: a Congress leader himself has accused him of taking Rs10 crore from K Karunakaran, now out of the Congress and formed a new party, to include him in the Left Front. And then the Lavlin case. Calling Pinarayi a reformist of Buddha’s credibility and stature is blasphemous. The reformist tag could have been attributed to S Ramachandran Pillai, Thomas Issac or MA Baby. (But Buddha is class apart, one can’t draw comparisons from Kerala). But they should have checked. And it was silent on the widespread protests by VS followers on Thursday and Saturday. Even channels like CNN-IBN carried such protests extensively.
The HT was no better. It labelled VS as a dinosaur. At least, its Kerala correspondent has been writing very balanced reports since the controversy erupted. Not that he is the perfect candidate. Not that VS will become the best chief minister Kerala has ever had. But given the options and names, he is the best and only man to do the job in CPM now. If he can't, then no one can't.

4 Comments:

Blogger Chattambi said...

Buddhadev Bhattacharjee and Pinarayi Vijayan have one thing in common: both of them are pathbreaking communists. (Hope the West Bengal chief minister doesn't take offence in being called a communist. The CPI(M) boss in Kerala has fought the rampaging RSS goons in Kannur for long and stills swears to keep them at bay in the state's electoral arena. He has endured the lock-up trauma during Emergency and was eager to strike a deal with K Karunakaran, the then home minister and now a political pariah. The common platform to brand Buddha and Pinarayi together will be their zealous exhortation for development. What did Pinarayi develop, asks Vilakudy. Well he was one of the successful ministers Kerala has seen. During his tenure as the electricity minister in the 1996 LDF ministry, he fought away the dim power scenario in the state and carried forward a baggage of wild allegations of misappropriation of funds from a Canadian aid agency. But the "reformist" Pinarayi has an axe to grind with the "hardliner" VS Achuthanandan. For VS is not only a hardliner, but anti-development anti-minorities too!!!

On a TV talk show last week, Prof. S Sudheesh, a bitter critic of CPI(M), gave his interpretation of development. "If the son of a toddy tapper could graduate from Thalassery Brunnen College during EMS' time, the son of a CPI(M) leader could go to Birmingham for higher studies." Its not clear whether he was referring to Pinarayi or his son.

Brunnen to Birmingham, a long way in development.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Udayor said...

agree to what you said at last, albeit by default, quote: "If he can't, then no one can't".

m

10:14 PM  
Blogger vilakudy said...

I am glad that chattambi has given a constructive reaction. But for God's Own Country's sake, please don't compare Pinarayi with Buddha. Buddha is a reformer, in every sense. And moreover, he really wanted to push the Bengal economy. But Pinarayi, everyone knows, is a greedy politician. He has reportedly taken money from Karunakaran to forge an alliance. And what he did during his ministership is well known. The alleged Lavlin deal speaks for itself.
Then your comment on VS's anti-monorityism. What does that mean? If someone opposes RSS,does that mean he is anti-majority? VS never wanted to include the Muslim League in the LDF. Muslim League is a party worse than the NDF. At least openly NDF admits that its real colours. They make their stand clear. Pinarayi and Muslim League leader Kunhalikuty are bird of same feathers. The entire Kerala knows it. I am not saying VS is the best man, but he is a far better candidate than Pinarayi, by any standards.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Chattambi said...

I erred. I erred in not putting "anti-development" and "anti-minority" in inverted commas. These were the charges against VS framed by Pinarayi's henchmen in CPI(M) central committee.

How?

Anti-development because he wanted proper safeguards in the Smart City deal with Dubai Internet City. Because he wanted Coca-Cola to be responsible while looting groundwater. Because he opposed a big-budget express highway which traversed the narrow state partitioning every other village into seperate continents. Because he wanted Leela Group of Hotels to hand over a heritage palace which they posess by way of government misdeeds.

Anti-minority because he pursued a sex racket case (ice cream case) in which former Muslim League minister PK Kunhalikkutty was involved. (Its another matter that the victim did a turnaround a la Saheera Sheikh.) Also because he opposed the proletarian party selling out Rajya Sabha seats to NRI industrialists. VS replied to the allegation: "Muslims will certainly vote for me. But Kunhalikkuttys, Gulfar Mohammedalis and Wahabs among Muslims may not vote for me.

8:18 AM  

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