Monday, December 8, 2008
Achuthanandan: Yesterday’s hero, today’s zero???
(Picture: India Today: Saurabh Singh)
If ever the media needed a quote, he was there. If ever the media wanted a controversy, he was there. If ever the media wanted a winner, he was there again. Kerala is a state which is a table tennis match between the Left Democratic Front with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) being a major constituent and the United Democratic Front, with the Congress party of India being a major constituent. For five years the ball is in one court and for the next five years it is in the other court. There is no alternative.
Two years ago, it was the turn of the LDF to come to power. But the UDF was not willing to let go easily. The LDF needed a face, a sure score winner. The leader of the opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan and his one liners became the darling of the media. Achuthanandan was denied a ticket initially but the public outcry changed that. Not only did he lead the alliance to victory, he then became the only choice for the post of the chief minister.
In the more than two years, Achuthanandan’s defining moment came in the form of the Munnar action plan, where illegal land holders where evicted and illegal constructions where demolished. (Mind you the illegal evictions did not include the small land of the poor). One of his most trusted and controversial lieutenants was Suresh Kumar, a bureaucrat who helped him implement this action plan.
The rich and famous cried foul. The enemies grouped together to form a formidable alliance. The action had to be stopped and the plan was dismantled. Many of you would have been introduced to Achu mama (as he is fondly called in Kerala) in the context of the Sandeep Unnikrishnan controversy, where it was reported that Achuthanandan made a statement saying if not for Sandeep not even a ‘dog’ would look in the direction of his house. This after a so-called rebuff by Sandip’s father which also included the use of the three letter word. But Achuthanandan is much more than the three letter word.
In this context it is understandable that people inside and outside Kerala look at Achuthanandan as an insensitive, old, and foolish man who is running things with a coterie rather than in a democratic way. (His own party has come up with this allegation). In the haze of all these allegations and counter allegations, one must not forget that a majority of the people in Kerala saw him as the leader they wanted. He did what no one dared to do, by taking on the rich and the powerful in Munnar. In a matter of months he has become a monster.
The media are hand in glove with the powerful, be it the politicians or others. Many are created and then pulled down with a few words. It is a much larger plot which we should see through. Many are working together to pull Achuthanandan down and this is a result of this. Yesterday everything he said was good, because the media wanted him to be a hero. Today everything he says is quoted out of context, because he must be made into a zero. This is a construction in which the media also has it’s own part to play. We should go beyond the newspaper reports and see the truth of it all. I am not saying that politicians are good as a group. What I am saying is that this man needs to be seen in the context of something else and not on the level of a three letter word.