Friday, August 24, 2007

CPI (M) decay reflected in corruption scandals

The following is a condensed version of an article appearing in the Annual number of the Janashakti weekly, published in August 2007

In an interview with Amrita television, CPI (M) Kerala State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan recently said, “Hundreds of thousands of people are connected with our party. Never in the past was there such decay in the party.”
The comment came as two scandals involving the party’s official organ, Deshabhiman were before the people. Later a third scandal too surfaced: the committee that organized the E. K. Nayanar memorial football tournament had taken Rs. 6 million from a real estate businessman.

According to the party, one was bribery, another loan and the third donation. The party sacked a deputy general manager of the newspaper in connection with the alleged payment of a bribe of Rs. 10 million by a money chain operator. However, it has not been willing to share with the police the information in its possession with regard to the deal. When the case of the loan of Rs. 20 million given to the newspaper by a man facing charges of lottery fraud came to light, the party said it would return the money. However, there is still no word of actual repayment. Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement about the football tournament makes it clear that the party views it as part of its political activities and not as just another sports event. Since all three transactions lacked transparency, all are treated as graft here.

There is a common element in all the transactions: the links between the CPI (M) and various kinds of financial interests. One man paid money to scotch a prosecution, another to prevent prosecution and the third threw money to make money. All three were engaged in business activities that are neither transparent nor honest. The party’s connections with them cannot be seen in isolation from the decay that has set in.

The Kerala unit is the CPI (M)’s largest unit. According to the documents of the last party congress, the State accounted for 316,305 out of the party’s 867,763 members in the country. West Bengal comes second with 274,921 members. The central leadership, one may assume, relies primarily on the largest unit for the bulk of the funds it needs. It must be concerned that the State party is dependent upon tainted sources for money.

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