New Delhi: In what may turn out to be a source of embarrassment to the Left, the latest WikiLeaks cables have claimed that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leadership in Kerala had pushed for US private sector investment in the state.
The CPM leaders had sought US’ help in attracting investment in Kerala in August 2008 - a month after the left Parties withdrew its support to the UPA government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
A secret cable sent by a top US diplomat to the State Department and accessed by WikiLeaks (166399, unclassified, dated August 2008), reveals that CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and then ministers Thomas Isaac and MA Baby expressed their desire for US investment to American diplomats during their conversation.
The reported conversation between the US diplomats and the CPM leaders took place shortly after the US political counsellor and staff of US Consulate evaluated Kerala’s political and economic scene in conversations with political and business leaders of the southern state.
The CPM’s leaders’ request for assistance was startling for the US officials, as they were aware of the party’s tough stand against ‘capitalist’ America. The cable reveals that the CPM leaders also expressed confidence that their reformist faction had the upper hand over the more dogmatic wing of the Kerala CPM led by the then Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.
Divulging more details of the closed-door meeting between the American political counsellor and top CPM leaders and ministers, the cable states, “CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan opened the meeting, which was held in his office underneath framed pictures of Stalin and Lenin, by telling the political counsellor that we need your assistance in drawing US investment to the state.
Vijayan, who is a powerful CPM politburo member, told the US officials they were not averse to American companies, and had no problems seeking investment from world’s richest country.
Explaining the change in the Kerala CPM’s position on investment, Vijayan was quoted as saying, “The government does not have enough money to adequately develop the state. We need money from the private sector.”
Seeking to put a lid on the controversy stemming out of the WikiLeaks revelation, the CPM leadership is now in a damage control mode and explaining that the meeting with the US officials was just a courtesy call.
Speaking to reporters in Kannur, CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has admitted that a meeting between the US political counsellor and US diplomatic officials had taken place at the AKG Centre in the presence of other leaders but maintained that it was only a "courtesy visit" which had no "political agenda".
"We have not invited the US officials. They have visited us. There was no special agenda when the meeting had taken place," he said.
"CPI(M) has got a clear policy on accepting foreign capital investments and we have not discussed anything against our stance," Vijayan said. “The WikiLeaks release would not affect the party”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has dubbed it as evidence of the double standards of the Marxist party.