CPI-CPM war of words continues in Kerala

Report by: 
P. Sreekumaran
Thiruvananthapuram
19 Feb 2017

The escalating war of words between the CPM and the CPI is causing concern in the Left Democratic front (LDF) circles.
The immediate cause for the rising decibel level of the public airing of differences is the rift over bringing Cabinet decisions under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran set the ball rolling by coming down heavily on attempts to distort facts for the convenience of the administration. “By distorting facts, whose interests are being protected?’ asked a furious Kanam. The elected administration is bound to protect the interests of the public. The CPI while oppose any attempt to clip the wings of the RTI Act,” he thundered while inaugurating the seminar on “Right To Information and Cabinet Decisions” at Kochi recently.
Kanam added that his party was not against not disclosing certain information relating to the security of the country. But Section 8 of the the RTI Act gives exemption for disclosing Cabinet notes. But the same Act says that after taking a decision on the Cabinet notes, they can be disclosed. Kanam said he was unable to comprehend the failure of those who rule the state to understand this.
In his response, Chief Minister Ppinarayi Vijayan said Kerala was the only state which gives information on Cabinet decisions in its official website. But information that could not be divulged, won’t be divulged, he said.
Criticising the CPI indirectly the Chief Minister said some quarters were spreading misinformation about the government’s stance. “I am not responding to certain allegations as I do not want to spark a controversy and not because I have lost the ability to react,” added Pinarayi in an obvious expression of displeasure over the continuing criticism from the CPI.
The CPI’s criticism is being attributed to the party’s resentment over the CPM’s refusal to ensure freedom to function for its student bodies in some colleges. The CPI is also reportedly upset over the differences between its trade union wing, AITUC and the CPM TU wing, CITU.
Understandably, other allies in the LDF are said to be worried over the public airing of differences between the two principal partners in the LDF. They are of the view that such public exchange of hot words would only benefit the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF). That should be avoided at any cost.
They have a point. Both the CPI and the CPM should immediately end the public airing of their differences. The right forum to ventilate the grievances is the LDF coordination committee meeting. Hopefully, wiser counsels would prevail and the verbal warfare cease forthwith.
The issue is likely to come up at the meeting of the LDF coordination committee which is scheduled to meet shortly.
It may be mentioned that the CPI and the CPM were not on the same page over the Kerala law Academy Law College issue either. While the CPI supported the students’ agitation launched to secure the resignation of its principal Lekshmi Nair, the CPM tried its level best to avert it, suffering serious damage to its credibility in the process.
The central leadership of the CPI had then decided against intervention in the matter. They said the issue should be sorted out at the state level. However, this time around, it seems it is time for the central leadership of both parties to intervene and initiate fire-fighting measures. Failure to do so would only affect the smooth functioning of the LDF Government, which has otherwise taken a slew of people-friendly steps. (IPA)