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‘Victim’ unhappy with CPM action

Many in the CPM see this as a revolt against the official leadership in the Palakkad unit, once the hotbed of factionalism within the party
Sasi was known to have played a decisive role in marginalising supporters of veteran V.S. Achuthanandan from the district committee at the height of factionalism in the party when Pinarayi Vijayan (in picture) was CPM state secretary.
Sasi was known to have played a decisive role in marginalising supporters of veteran V.S. Achuthanandan from the district committee at the height of factionalism in the party when Pinarayi Vijayan (in picture) was CPM state secretary.
The Telegraph file picture

Santosh Kumar   |   New Delhi   |   Published 02.12.18, 08:51 PM

Barely two days after the Kerala CPM suspended its Shoranur MLA P.K. Sasi for six months for misbehaving with a woman leader, the latter has approached the central leadership saying her complaint was not taken seriously enough by the state unit.

Many in the CPM see this as a revolt against the official leadership in the Palakkad unit, once the hotbed of factionalism within the party.

Sasi was known to have played a decisive role in marginalising supporters of veteran V.S. Achuthanandan from the district committee at the height of factionalism in the party when Pinarayi Vijayan was CPM state secretary.

The action against Sasi came almost three months after a Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) district committee member complained that the legislator tried to sexually abuse her at the party office at Mannarkkad in Palakkad district.

Following the complaint, the party had set up a two-member committee to look into the allegations.

In a letter to the party higher-ups, the DYFI worker has reportedly pointed out that only disciplinary action was taken against Sasi based on a telephone conversation.

According to her, the complaint of sexual harassment was not taken into consideration by the Kerala CPM or the probe conducted by party central committee members P.K. Sreemathi and A.K. Balan.

In an official communication on Monday, the CPM had stated that the probe committee had found that Sasi spoke to the party worker in “a manner unbecoming of a leader”.

Sreemathi also had corroborated this saying: “There were certain things Sasi said which was totally unexpected from a party leader.”

There was no mention of physical assault and it was said that the “woman had got justice”.

But now with the worker raising the issue again, the state CPM, already under criticism for dithering on action against Sasi, finds itself in a tight spot.

The central committee of the party, meeting this month, is scheduled to discuss the probe report and the subsequent action taken by the state unit.

The new development will see a division in the central leadership as a section already believes that the Kerala unit had not followed the party constitution while dealing with the case.

This section point out that Sasi should have been suspended while the committee was looking into the allegations and not after it submitted the report.

Moreover, even while the committee was conducting its inquiry, Sasi was allowed to be in the forefront of all party functions in the district, even sharing the dais with Balan, one of the probe panel members, and the chief minister himself.

This gave a general impression that the state leadership was with Sasi and not the aggrieved worker.

Also the Kerala unit’s decision not to ask Sasi to quit his MLA’s post has not gone down well within the party.

As an MLA Sasi can participate in all decision-making processes and attend the meetings of the CPM legislative party. He can also take part in all other party activities as a sitting legislator. He will be actively taking part in the fund-raising programme of the CPM from December 1.

Sasi will also continue to function as the Palakkad district president of the party’s trade union wing, Citu.

But the fact remains that from the common man’s and many party workers’ point of view it is clear that the very purpose of the suspension stands defeated.



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