Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’ K-Rail project seems to be upsetting many within the party and outside, which could be crucial as the CPI-M is all set to elect a new leadership, who will lead the party for the next three years.
The first signs of open displeasure within the coalition appeared when top CPI leader Prakash Babu on Friday said things can go forward only if there was peace and for that the confidence of the people has to be there. “Attempts should be made to get that and it is wrong to see all who are protesting as enemies,” said Babu while speaking at a party meeting.
Meanwhile, the report on Friday said the agency, which was doing the survey, has been getting a raw deal from the protesters and despite the police protection they have not been able to work, hence there has been no survey for the day.
Trouble has been brewing up in the state since the past two weeks when the K-Rail officials began the marking of proposed alignment for the project to conduct a social impact assessment study, and soon widespread protests started all across the state. The protests have increased after the Congress and the BJP joined in.
Vijayan was in Delhi on Thursday and he expected that he would be able to clinch it by getting the sanction, but his body language after meeting the Prime Minister revealed that things have not gone the way he expected. Soon came the statement from the Union Railway Minister in the Upper House that the Centre will take a proper decision on the project and no decision can be taken in a rush. This was a clear indication that it might not be able to arrive at a decision quickly as Vijayan wishes.
Meanwhile, fissures appeared within the party for the first time and it has come from the national leadership of the CPI-M, coming as a shocker for Vijayan. He has by now become the last word in the government and in the state unit of the party, and is expecting to take control of the party when the 23rd edition of the Party Congress will be held next month in his home turf, Kannur.
In Delhi, on Friday Yechuri lost his cool when asked about the K-Rail protests, and he said if there were any other questions.
Sources in the know of things reveal that the national leadership of the party, including general secretary Sitaram Yechuri, Brinda Karat and a few senior leaders from outside Kerala are upset with the way Vijayan is going forward with the project without taking the people into confidence and trying to use force on innocent women and children who are protesting for fear of losing their property.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan took a dig at Vijayan on Friday when he said that it appeared that the ongoing survey has been stopped and it’s done because of their upcoming Party Congress.
“We will not stop our protests against this project till Vijayan makes the announcement that the proposed project is withdrawn,” said Satheeesan.
The coming days will reveal if the survey will be taken forward or will it be taken up only after the end of the CPI-M Party Congress in the second week of April.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said as things stand and with the protest getting massive support and the key party meeting coming up, Vijayan appears to be a bit shaken.
“He expected that his meeting with Modi would turn out to be positive, even though no one knows what exactly transpired, the statement of the Union Railway Minister on Thursday in Parliament certainly does not augur well for Vijayan. The first signs of expression of dissent have also surfaced in the CPI, the second biggest ally of the ruling Left. So Vijayan if he does not play his cards well, things could turn against him,” said the critic.