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Foul play & sleaze spark Kerala CPM purge

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept. 17: Kerala’s CPM is going through a major cleansing process as it tries to battle allegations of factionalism and corruption in the top echelons.

The party’s state committee today dissolved the district committees at Alappuzha and Thrissur and demoted three senior leaders from the state body. It had yesterday expelled state committee member and former Thiruvananthapuram district secretary V. Satyanesan from the party.

With the steps, the three-day meeting of the CPM state committee, being held in Thiruvananthapuram since Monday, has virtually become an instrument of purging.

G. Sudhakaran, secretary of the dissolved Alappuzha district committee, former secretary V. Kesavan and T. Sasidharan, state secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, have been demoted. K.P. Aravindakshan, secretary of the dissolved Thrissur committee, and T.O. Poulouse, a senior leader of Thrissur, have been censured.

The dissolution of the two powerful district committees was the result of an intra-party investigation into allegations that the elections to the two bodies in the run-up to the last party congress were rigged by factions within the state CPM.

The election to the Thrissur committee was won by the faction owing allegiance to Opposition leader V.S. Achutanandan while factions supporting state CPM secretary Pinaryi Vijayan and the leadership of Kerala Citu won the Alappuzha committee.

CPM central committee members M.A. Baby and E.P. Jayarajan have been appointed ad hoc secretaries of Alappuzha and Thrissur.

The action against Satyanesan was on the basis of allegations that he had taken grease money from Manichan, a leader of Kerala’s illicit liquor lobby and the main accused in the Kalluvathukkal liquor tragedy, which had left more than 50 people dead.

Manichan had a diary listing all the payments he had made to political leaders. Names of 23 CPM leaders were mention ed in the diary but the party probe headed by state secretariat member Paloli Muhammed Kutty found only Satyanesan guilty.

According to the diary, Satyanesan was on Manichan’s monthly payroll after accepting a one-time payment of Rs 4.02 lakh in 1998.

Satyanesan had come to Monday’s meeting but had to walk out of AKG Centre, the CPM’s state headquarters, as his expulsion was announced.

He would appeal to higher committees against the decision and prove his innocence, Satyanesan said today.

“It is the party that has made me what I am. I wish to get back to the party and earn people’s respect once again,” he said.

The cleaning process has shown that the earlier assertions of CPM bosses denying allegations of factionalism and corruption were mere rhetoric. The leadership had earlier said that the factionalism and corruption in the CPM were figments of the media’s imagination.

Central leaders Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Prakash Karat and S. Ramachandran Pillai attended the state committee meeting.

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