The already strained relations between the two Communist parties in Kerala has taken a turn for the worse with a senior CPI leader hitting out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
CPI Idukki district secretary K.K. Sivaraman has said the Chief Minister's attitude of 'I am the state' does not augur well for the coalition.
Over the past few months, the CPI-M and CPI, the number one and two in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) have been sparring against each other over various issues, causing impediments in the smooth functioning of the state government.
Things reached a crescendo ever since Thursday when a group of revenue officials and a strong posse of police pulled down a 'cross' of a new generation Church - Spirit in Jesus- near the hill station of Munnar, after it was found that the cross was put up on usurped land by the church authorities.
Communist Party of India leader E. Chandrasekheran holds the revenue portfolio.
Vijayan at a public meeting on Thursday condemned the act of the officials of pulling down the cross, leaving the CPI angry.
At a meeting of these officials on Friday evening, Vijayan came down heavily on the district administration and asked them to do a clean job.
Reacting to the turn of events, CPI Idukki district secretary K.K. Sivaraman on Friday told the media that they are baffled at the manner in which the Chief Minister has reacted.
"We are at a loss and do not know why he spoke like this. He should realise that it's a coalition government that is in office in Kerala now and his attitude of 'I am the state' does not augur well," said Sivaraman.
The new development came at a time when the state secretaries of the two warring Communist parties were to meet. The meeting, scheduled for Friday, has been indefinitely postponed.
In Saturday's party organ of the CPI, the need for holding a discussion with Vijayan has also been made.
In a related development, the office bearers of the Spirit in Jesus church on Saturday told reporters in Thrissur that the place where the cross stood is not theirs.
"For the past 60 years this place located on a hill top near Munnar has been in the possession of a person named Maria Susai, who is a member of the church and the 'cross' has been there for ages. Two years back he came up with a request that since the cross has become old and worn out, he wished to put up a new one. We supported the move. We wish to announce that our church or our leader Tom Zachariah does not own any illegal land," said officials of the church.
"Maria Susai got this property from his ancestors who owned it, and in this area none have got title deeds. His application for title deed has been with the state government since 1994 and no action has been taken. We also wish to state that this place has been frequented by many devotees from various churches as 'biblically' it's quite well known in our faith that God's position has always been on a hill top," added the representatives of Spirit in Jesus.