New Delhi: Senior Left leader V S Achuthanandan, who has been critical of CPI(M) leadership in Kerala over several issues, was on Sunday publicly censured by the party on charges of providing opponents an opportunity to attack it.
The decision to take disciplinary action against 88-year-old VS, as he is popularly known, for his "wrong remarks and for violation of the basic norms of the party" was taken by the CPI(M) Central Committee after a a two-day meeting which ended here this evening.
"We are not happy to do this. We hope this chapter ends here," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told a press conference.
The Central Committee described him as the senior most leader of the party in Kerala and expected that he act in such a manner which will help the party to unitedly face the current situation.
Public censure is the third stage of punishment in CPI(M). For disciplinary action, CPI(M) has six stages -- warning, censure, public censure, removal from the post in the party, suspension from full party membership for any period but not exceeding one year and expulsion.
Achuthanandan, the Leader of Opposition in Kerala and a member of the Central Committee, has been at loggerheads with the state party leadership on several issues, including the recent killing of a CPI(M) rebel T P Chandrasekharan.
He was also opposed to the decisions taken by his bete noire and Kerala CPI(M) Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, whose faction had insisted in the Central Committee that strict action should be taken against Achuthanandan.
Earlier in the day, Achuthanandan was called to the meeting of the Politburo which was convened after the morning session of Central Committee. Achuthanandan explained his position in the meeting which was also attended by Vijayan.
Karat said the Central Committee considered a report submitted by the Politburo on the prevailing situation in Kerala and party related matters there.
"The Central Committee noted that Achuthanandan had made certain statements publicly criticising the state leadership of the party and taken some steps which have provided opportunities for the political opponents to attack the Party.
"After the discussion, VS self-critically told the Central Committee that some of his remarks and actions were incorrect and could have been avoided," Karat said.
On this basis, he said the Central Committee decided to publicly censure Achuthanandan for his "wrong remarks and for violation of the basic norms of the party.
"The Central Committee expects VS, the senior most leader of the party in Kerala, to act in such a manner which will help the party to unitedly face the current situation," a Central Committee Communique said.
Karat also claimed that the murder of Chandrasekaran is being utilised to conduct a concerted campaign against the party.
"The Central Committee condemned the efforts of the UDF government which has directed the police to falsely implicate party leaders and cadres in this case. The party has already declared that it is not involved in the murder of Chandrasekaran and had strongly condemned it.
"The party does not believe in elimination of political opponents," Karat said, adding that CPI(M) will conduct an inquiry into the matter to ascertain if there is any involvement of anyone associated with the Party in this incident.
"Firm action will be taken if anybody is found to be involved from the Party and any wrong trend if it exists in the Party will be put down firmly," he said.
He said the Central Committee asked Kerala state committee to take appropriate action in the matter concerning M M Mani, former Secretary of the Idukki District Committee of the party who has created controversy by claiming that party had made a list of opponents who should be killed and some of them were murdered.