Pinarayi Vijayan would never forget that day in March, 2006 when the then chief minister Oommen Chandypressed for handing over the SNC-Lavalin graft case probe to the CBI, overruling the findings of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. It was on the same day that the election commission of India notified the poll for Kerala assembly . The state secretary of the CPMwho was also the most powerful leader in the party missed that poll and the next one in 2011 as allegations of corruption stood as a hurdle between him and parliamentary positions.
Wednesday was his day of revenge. Two weeks were enough for his team to thoroughly analyse the charges against Oommen Chandy and colleagues and submit recommendations that would help him trap them in multiple cases.
The timing of the decision was criticised by the opposition UDF but the other opposition party BJP welcomed it whole-heartedly . While the Congress leadership was on a defensive mood following the probe announcement, BJP state leadership welcomed it with enthusiasm. Sources close to Vijayan ruled out any foul play in the timing of the announcement. “From submission of report to announcement of the probe, all officials concerned acted professionally,” said a source.
The justice G Sivarajan report, running to 1073 pages in four volumes, turned out to be a powerful weapon for Vijayan who smartly used it to tackle several opponents together. Painting the Congress as a corrupt party was something Vijayan wanted to silence his critics in the party. It is not a secret that CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury nurtures a line that advocates electoral alliance with the Congress and Vijayan, along with former general secretary Prakash Karat, have been opposing the proposition. The CPI, which is the only critic of Vijayan’s style of functioning, also advocates a pro-Congress line. The findings of the judicial commission will help Vijayan to silence the critics within the house at least for the time being.
The probe announcement happened five days ahead of the beginning of local committee conferences in the CPM. In local, area and district conferences, political issues will dominate the debates and the tough action against the Congress leaders will be a satisfying reward for grass root workers who had relentlessly fought on street seeking resignation of Oommen Chandy. Knowingly or unknowingly, Vijayan has also put an end to the `adjustment politics’ practised by the UDF and the LDF in the state. Sources in the Congress said A K Antony’s sharp reaction to Vijayan’s move did not come as a surprise to them as he was well aware of such `adjustments’ in the past. Antony termed Vijayan a fourth grade politician, obviously behaving in a manner not suitable for his image.