Tag Archives: VS Achutanandan

In the Name of Fidel – The Left Reads the Mandate: Vipin Kumar Chirakkara

This is a guest post by VIPIN KUMAR CHIRAKKARA

Party has two faces: V.S. Achuthanandan (centre) with Pinarayi Vijayan (left)
Party has two faces: V.S. Achuthanandan (centre) with Pinarayi Vijayan (left) Photo and Caption Courtesy – Indian Express.

In his address to the media in Thiruvananthapuram after the Left won the mandate in Kerala, Sitaram Yechury announced two positions to be given to two leaders of his own party who had successfully contested the elections from there.  One is that of the leader of the legislative party of the CPI-M, or effectively the chief ministership of Kerala.  That went to Pinarayi Vijayan.  The other one went to V.S. Achuthanandan.  He is made the Fidel Castro of Kerala.  Yechury, the embattled general secretary of the party who is also known to be closer to VS than to Vijayan, elaborated on the function of the second position since, seemingly, he felt that people could develop doubts about the implication of this honour, if not an anxiety whether the left victory in a single assembly election is turning Kerala into Cuba.  He clarified that VS will be an inspirational symbol providing advice and direction to the new government, and added that the veteran leader could not head the government due to his advanced age and poor health.  Yechury was, of course, flanked by the state secretary of the party Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and VS himself.  The suspense thriller of this election thus had the curtain fall, with an anti-climactic scene of unity.

It would deprive us of a unique opportunity to know another meaning of the mandate if we ignore how Yechury has read it.  He interpreted the mandate in the same address to the media that was held in Kerala’s capital.  He had a special reading to offer us, indeed different from what we all would ordinarily imagine.  His reading is distinguished from ours by its methodology itself.  He does not look at the assembly elections with reference to states where elections have taken place now. According to him, elections took place in 820 seats.  He took out his cell phone and provided the statistics of the results.  The BJP could win only in 64 assembly seats, the Congress in 115 whereas the Left has been victorious in 124.  He said that this was “the absolute ground reality”.  He assured us, the anxious beings, further that this reality implied no such threat as the return of the saffron.  When a journalist mentioned to him the victory of the Trinamool Congress that had won above 210 seats in West Bengal, he said he had in mind only the national parties.  So, we are expected to understand if we haven’t yet, that the Left’s is indeed an impressive performance as a national party!

Continue reading In the Name of Fidel – The Left Reads the Mandate: Vipin Kumar Chirakkara

Why I’ll Wait for Aan Allaatha Party in Kerala

The discussions about the concrete shape the AAP will take in Kerala have begun to heat up here. Two suggestions appear to be equally strong at the moment. One, the apparent interest taken by VS Achutanandan and his supporters as well as groups that have broken away from the CPM and possess some electoral clout, like the RMP, have been read as a beginning. The second indication is from news that public intellectuals like Sarah Joseph, who have a long history of struggle in and within Kerala’s largely leftist oppositional civil society, are joining the AAP Kerala. There is also some fear that the fledgling party will be choked by middle-class college lecturers and others who are angry about Kerala being ‘too politicized’ and who would read AAP as essentially politics in the service of anti-politics. A fourth prominent group is of sceptics who ask if the AAP is doing anything more or different from the militant welfarism of the left in Kerala in the mid-20th century decades. Is the AAP even relevant in Kerala, they ask. Continue reading Why I’ll Wait for Aan Allaatha Party in Kerala