CPI, the second largest ally of the CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front, in its executive meet held in January this year had flayed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his ‘unilateral behaviour’. Some leaders even called him ‘Modi in mundu’. (Mundu is the Malayalam word for Dhoti).
Vijayan, during his tenure as CM in the past one year, hasn’t proven otherwise. Handling the home portfolio as well, Vijayan has been accused of being adamant, unfazed by criticism, unfriendly to the media and showing symptoms of a self-obsessed ruler.
The prime slogan of the LDF campaign for the last Assembly elections was ‘uncompromising stand for women’s safety’. The police department, directly under his charge, has come under criticism for its inept handling of crime, especially those involving attacks on women. And with this, the skill of the CPI (M) strongman as an able administrator is also being questioned.
The latest is the abduction and alleged sexual abuse of a well-known actor. Vijayan’s statement, after the key accused in the case was forcefully arrested from a court in Ernakulam while he was about to surrender, calling it a proud achievement, was a flaw on his self-poised maturity.
The charges against CPI (M) former Kalamassery area secretary Zakir Hussein of kidnapping an industrialist, has also become an embarrassment for the government.
Hussein is still an active participant in party local meetings.
“What has the Pinarayi-led government did in the case? Zakir Hussein was there in the front row of the national conference of DYFI. Also the government could have opted for an early hearing of Jisha murder case as a petitioner did in the SNC- Lavalin corruption case. In the actor abduction case Pulsur Suni was there in the area under Kalamassery- Kadavanthra tower when PT Thomas MLA informed the police about the incident. But they had to wait still he surrendered after six days to nab him. What happened to the investigation in the Wadakkanchery gang rape case?” K M Shajahan, who was expelled from the CPI (M) allegedly for leaking party news, told TNM.
Veteran journalist BRP Bhaskar however says, “Pinarayi can’t be flayed for he has no control over police. Even when EMS was the CM such criticisms were raised. His style could be considered as different rather than unilateral”.
In most of the controversial cases Vijayan has resorted to silence. It has to be recalled that the faction of the CPI (M) led by Vijayan was keen to take away the home portfolio from V S Achuthanandan when the veteran was sworn in as the chief minister in 2006.
While the government is trying to grapple with various predicaments, the opposition has decided to take the issue of womens’ safety forward. KPCC president VM Sudheeran told the media on Thursday that public meeting will be organised in Panchayats to protest against atrocities on women.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala in a Facebook post said that Pulsur Suni’s arrest exposed the inability of the police system in the state.
“It’s a shame on the police to hold on to him while he arrived at the court to surrender,” the post said.
“What is Pinarayi doing as a home minister? Nothing. He has proved that he is inefficient,” Chennithala told TNM.
Eyebrows are also being raised on the increasing number of cases of moral policing in the state. In an incident that has shocked the state, a young man named Aneesh, a victim of moral policing, committed suicide on Thursday.
And it isn’t just about crime. The Governor rejecting the government’s request to release 1850 prisoners had lead to much furore. Finally, Vijayan had to come forward and clarify that the government’s intention was to commute the sentences and not immediately release them.
Even within Left supporters in Kerala, the Maoists hunt in Nilambur forest which was not in line with the CPI (M)’s national stand on the issue had created much dissatisfaction.
Before assuming office as Chief Minister, the testimony for Vjayan’s administrative skill was his two- year stint as minister for power in the E K Nayanar government from 1996 to 1998. The 71-year-old had established his dominance in the party by sidelining his arch rival V S Achuthanandan in the race to become Chief Minister.
The going has not been easy for the Chief Minister and his abilities as the state’s Home Minister is under scrutiny now more than ever.