In an interview with The Hindu, Sudhakaran, a stalwart in the CPI(M) in Alappuzha, says he doesn’t feel side-lined in the party.
In his political career spanning over five-and-a-half decades, Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] leader G. Sudhakaran has undergone many ups and downs. After serving as the Minister for Public Works and Registration, Sudhakaran, one of the standout performers in the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, is taking some time off from the electoral politics but still hogs the limelight, this time for unusual reasons.
H. Salam, MLA, who succeeded Sudhakaran in the Ambalappuzha Assembly constituency had alleged that the veteran communist leader had not cooperated with him properly during the 2021 Assembly polls. The former Minister has recently appeared before a two-member panel appointed by the CPI(M) to look into the complaints about electioneering in the constituency.
Now that the Committee has submitted its report and news reports suggesting the inquiry panel has substantiated some of the charges against Sudhakaran, political observers feel that chances of disciplinary action against him are highly likely. The Committee also reportly found faults with Salam.
However, Sudhakaran strongly believes that he has been the victim of an incessant witch-hunt by the “political criminals” who colluded with a section of the media. In an interview with The Hindu, Sudhakaran, a stalwart in the CPI(M) in Alappuzha, the cradle of the Communist movement in the State, says he doesn’t feel side-lined in the party. According to him, a few “ignorant” party members, not leaders, have targeted him on social media, unaware of the facts.
“The party candidate who won from Ambalappuzha constituency made some remarks against me in the CPI(M) district committee meeting regarding the electioneering. No other member raised any issues against me. It is important to look into the charges and the party was right to appoint the Committee. But, “political criminals” with the support of a section of the media unleashed a malicious campaign against me. Unfortunately, it is still continuing. Those indulging in it have a “criminal mentality.” A few party members too are part of it. The party has not yet taken action against them. I have no complaints about it,” he says.
Terming the charges against him a total surprise, Sudhakaran says he had recommended the names of P. P. Chitharanjan and H. Salam as party candidates in Alappuzha and Ambalappuzha Assembly constituencies respectively. “Months before the Assembly polls, I had informed politburo members including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and M.A. Baby along with CPI(M) district secretary R. Nazar of my desire to stay away from electoral politics. They all told me that we need not discuss it now. I never expected these allegations against me. I have done everything asked by the party during the election campaign”, he says.
Brushing off the allegations of his absence and lack of support to the LDF campaign, he drew parallels between his own electoral battle in Ambalappuzha in 2006 and that of Salam in 2021. “When I contested from Ambalappuzha in 2006, I won by a margin of 11,929 votes. My victory margin crossed 22,000 votes in the third contest in 2016. Salam’s victory margin of 11,125 votes, in his first election, is not a small thing. He garnered above 61,000 votes, more than the party’s assessment. Most important is that the LDF has won the seat for the fourth time in a row. There is nothing negative about the election campaign in Ambalappuzha,” says Sudhakaran, a CPI(M) State committee member.
On the possibility of CPI (M) taking disciplinary action against him based on the inquiry report, Sudhakaran, who detailed his version before the two-member Committee in a “24-page affidavit”, hopes the party leadership will apply their mind before reaching a conclusion. “I have always towed the party-line. If they find any mistake on my part, I am ready to accept it. Whatever be the party’s decision, I will accept it.”
On questions regarding his future plans, Sudhakaran says he is ready for any responsibility the party entrusts upon him. “The party had given me the opportunity to serve the people as an MLA for 20 years. I was made a Minister for 10 years. I am satisfied with the current responsibilities in the party. I am not dreaming of any new positions. That is not what the communists stand for.”
Second LDF Government
Commenting on the second LDF government he says that as long as Pinarayi Vijayan is at the helm, there is no cause for any worry. Praising his successor, Sudhakaran says that P.A. Mohamed Riyas has started well in the Public Works Department.