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Modi ‘loyalists’ split Kerala CPM

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 24: Narendra Modi’s rivals allege he is divisive. In Kerala, the CPM appears to be discovering just how.

The CPM state unit today appeared split over the admission of some BJP rebels who had floated an outfit called the NaMo Vichar Manch after quitting their party.

The official faction of the CPM, which bears allegiance to state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, has welcomed the group. But Vijayan’s party rival, leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, has opposed the move.

Today, Achuthanandan dubbed the rebels “Modi’s men” and warned that any tie-up with them could backfire like an earlier alliance with the People’s Democratic Party, led by radical Islamic leader Abdul Nasser Madani, had done.

“They are Narendra Modi’s men. People should assess what gains will be made if opportunists like them are admitted to the party (CPM),” the former chief minister said.

The rebels had launched the NaMo Vichar Manch last November “as a corrective force” against the BJP in an apparent attempt to show solidarity with the party’s prime ministerial candidate despite having walked out over a local issue.

The group, numbering around half-a-dozen leaders and their supporters, fell out with the state BJP over the election of a controversial leader as district president in Kannur, a Marxist stronghold and a hotbed of clashes between CPM and Sangh activists.

These rebels alleged that the state BJP leadership was soft on K. Ranjith, the district chief whom they accused of “moral turpitude”. Later, the rebels threatened to join hands with the CPM in Kannur.

The CPM warmed up to the group as it saw in them a way to counter the Sangh’s attempts to spread its wings in the Left fortress. Violence has long been the hallmark of Kannur politics, with scores of CPM, Sangh, BJP and Congress activists losing their lives in clashes.