Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
Outlook.com

The Sickle Within

A simmering row in the ruling CPI(M) has reached flashpoint. The CM is battling intra-party bids to muzzle him. Will he win?

The Sickle Within Narendra Bisht

During his high-voltage election campaign, CPI(M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan had projected himself as a crusader against corruption and the champion of the underdog. Someone who takes on MNCs like Coca-Cola and "exploitative" global funding agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB). So evocative were his speeches and ways of mustering public support that if the Left Front swept the 2006 state assembly polls, it did so riding on an Achuthanandan wave. He came through as a tough, confident, no-nonsense yet down-to-earth leader who would deliver on his promises come what may.

After a brief battle for turf, Achuthanandan went on to become the CM. But six months into power, he is a shadow of the man he was during his election campaign. The 83-year-old Comrade VS is, according to CPI(M) insiders, a leader under siege. Pushed to a corner by a powerful faction in his own party. Distrusted by many of in the rank and file. Unsure of support from the central leadership. And constantly being reminded by the media that he is failing to deliver on his promises. Such are the pressures and expectations from Achuthanandan’s famed strongman image has taken a severe beating. Even his sympathisers have begun to wonder at the change that has come over him after assuming office.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement