Just when you thought that theatrics has reduced in politics, there is a revival of that art form thanks to the octogenarian Communist chief minister of Kerala. Achyutanandan is riding a popularity tsunami wave unseen in Kerala politics due to a demolition drive he has triggered all over Kerala. A special task force assigned by him has been camping in the hill resort of Munnar demolishing any building constructed over encroached land, mostly holiday resorts. The task force did not even spare one of the offices of CPI, a coalition partner, resulting in an increased sales of heart burn medicine in the capital.
The demolition drives were not just restricted to Munnar but also in towns all around Kerala. While driving into Kottayam last month we were held up for an hour because a bull dozer was pulling down a building right in the town and while driving from Thrissur town to Thalikkulam, a beach town, we saw that even church walls were not spared. Achyutanandan became the fearless Robinhood receiving support from everyone for taking such bold steps and Sugatha Kumari, the poetess, went on to write an op-ed piece in Mathrubhoomi praising him.
That’s when Achyutanandan decided to move it up a notch. He drove to Munnar in heavy downpour on a day in which his coalition members had decided to investigate the excesses done in Munnar and personally threw away a board from land which he said belonged to the Tatas. He touted that no one had the courage to touch the Tatas till then. He also warned the Tatas not to approach the judiciary and threatened that if they did so they would be left with no land at all.
The last statement sounded like it came from a kidnapper who after saying, Tumhari maa hamare kabze mein hai, warns the victim not to go to the police than a person who has sworn to uphold the follow the laws of India. Then what can you expect from a Communist whose only claim to fame is destroying crops planted by farmers.
Events took a comic turn when Achyutanandan’s Revenue Minister stated in the Assembly that the land which the Chief Minister claimed belonged to the Tatas actually belonged to the Forest Department and the nearest Tata plantation was 2 KM away. In fact the land had been under the Government control since 1971. Instead of following the law Achyutanandan thought he was Suresh Gopi in his old age, decided to take the law into his own hands, and ended up with coconut tree manure on his face. Thanks to the excellent media coverage, Achyutanandan’s stupidity was telecast to a wide audience.
You would think Communists would learn from such embarrassments. Instead they have decided to threaten major newspapers for exposing corruption within the party.