Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 25: V.S. Achuthanandan came for the conclusion of the rally that Pinarayi Vijayan had flagged off on February 2, but truce appeared to be the last thing on their minds.
The CPM leader accused of corruption has the right to prove his innocence in court, the Kerala chief minister said, as state secretary Vijayan sat grim-faced on Shankumugham beach.
Achuthanandan made a last-minute turnaround to attend the partys Nav Kerala rally, which he had kept away from all these days.
This party is above corruption and it has a history of fighting corruption, he said in a barb at his one-time-protégé-turned-rival who is facing a CBI probe for corruption.
Achuthanandan cited three big corruption cases the CPM had been fighting against the Congress-led UDF.
On the pretext of attacking the UDF, the chief minister said: The UDF leaders should know that leaders in our party accused of graft have the right, just like them (of UDF), to prove their innocence in the court… so stop this campaign against the party.
He also referred to general secretary Prakash Karats reiteration that the party would fight the case against Vijayan politically and legally.
Thousands of party workers gathered on the beach encouraged him by clapping repeatedly. When Achuthanandan arrived at the venue, the crowd was uncontrollable. Police had a tough time escorting him to the dais as the workers broke into loud slogans hailing the chief minister.
Karat and Vijayan were already seated on the dais.
Vijayan, who spoke before the chief minister, had a word of warning for leaders who think they have outgrown the party. If I think that the spirited slogans that greet me are because of my greatness, then I dont have any reason to be in the party. Its the party thats everything, he said.
Vijayan cautioned against acting like a child who draws seawater in a bucket and wants it to behave like the ocean. One should realise that all the strength one commands is because you are part of the vast ocean, the party, he said.
Karat said the CBI case against Vijayan was politically motivated but added the CPM would never compromise on corruption and wouldnt spare anyone found guilty. This is the CPM. The unity that you see here is our resolve to face the elections unitedly.
Oscar winner Resul Pookuttys brother Zaifudin, sister Zeenat and her husband Sherafudin were felicitated at the rally. Resuls late father was a member of the undivided Communist Party of India.