New Delhi, May 10: Cornered within his party over his stand on a corruption case, Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan has reached out to Left ally CPI for support.
The CPM veteran met two CPI ministers of his cabinet late on Friday and is believed to have explained his position on the SNC Lavalin case in which party comrade and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is an accused.
The cabinet has advised the governor not to give the CBI permission to prosecute Vijayan who, as a former power minister, is accused of flouting norms to award a contract to the Canadian firm.
However, the CPM state secretariat is unhappy that Achuthanandan argued in favour of granting sanction at the cabinet meeting and, according to sources, demanded on Friday that he step down.
Today, CPI Kerala secretary Veliyam Bharghavan said his party had a clear stand against corruption. Let the governor take an appropriate decision.
Bharghavan, however, said his party didnt have any opinion on whether Achuthanandan should step down: Nobody has discussed with us the issue of changing the chief minister. We dont have any special liking for Vijayan or the chief minister
Although the CPI did not oppose the cabinet decision on Vijayan, it is unhappy about the same decision on two officials of the Kerala state electricity board.
We supported the decision on Vijayan in the cabinet because he is a Left leader and a former minister. But we have reservations on the bureaucrats getting immunity, said a CPI leader.
Sources in the chief ministers camp said his stand against corruption had been consistent.
We think its a fair stand to take. If Vijayan is not guilty, let him undergo the judicial process and emerge clean. Its unfair to say that the chief minister defied the party stand in any manner.
There was also indication that though he has been forced into a corner in his own party, Achuthanandan would not step down on his own, come what may.
The CPM has denied that its state secretariat asked Achuthanandan to resign, but the war is expected to come out in the open after the election results are declared on May 16.