Pinarayi Vijayan emerges pivot of LDF

With the CBI court discharging him from the SNC Lavalin graft case, CPI(M) Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has emerged as the potential chief ministerial candidate of the LDF.

PTI| Updated: Nov 06, 2013, 12:24 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: With the CBI court discharging him from the SNC Lavalin graft case, CPI(M) Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has emerged as the potential chief ministerial candidate of the LDF.

According to political observers here, the verdict has removed the hurdles on his way to shift from the organisational role to electoral sphere by the next assembly polls in 2016.

Though Vijayan has remained firm at the helm of the party in the state for over a decade despite the challenge posed by his bete noire V S Achuthanandan, the Lavalin case had cast a shadow over him all these years.

By his own admission, the court order has come as a big relief since the case has haunted him for long and his rivals have used and abused it to harass him by hurling all sorts of baseless allegations.

The case pertains to the contract given to the Canadian firm SNC Lavalin for renovation of three hydel power stations when Vijayan was the power minister in the LDF government in 1998.

When Vijayan was made an accused by the CBI in the case, the party had dubbed it as a vengeful move by the Congress for withdrawing support to the UPA-I by the Left over the civil nuclear pact with America.

But Achuthanandan had differed from this official line of the party at the time and he was dropped from the CPI(M) politburo for openly airing his divergent stand.

According to political observers, all these have become part of history with the court clearing Vijayan.

As a leader who has already demonstrated his organisational and administrative acumen, now the path is clear for him to make a comeback to the electoral arena and to claim the top slot if the LDF wins the polls next time, they feel.

They feel that Achuthanandan, who turned 90 last month, is unlikely to challenge Vijayan anymore as the time and tide are no longer favourable to him.

Reacting to the verdict, Achuthanandan had said whatever views he held on the Lavalin case in the past have become irrelevant with yesterday`s verdict.

Ironically, Vijayan was once a protege of Achuthanandan and it was the senior who asked him to resign from the ministry and take over as state secretary in 1998.