Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2 IANS | 2 years ago

If the 2012 plenum of the CPI-M's Kerala unit was badly hit by the murder of a former party colleague, this year it was an advertisement in party organ 'Deshabhimani' that played spoilsport at the meeting.

While top party leaders are trying hard to explain away the advertisement by V.M. Radhakrishnan, accused of abetting a company secretary's suicide, the media has seized on the issue to attack the party accusing it of double standards.

The contentious advertisement appeared Friday, Nov 29, on the concluding day of the three-day plenum of the Kerala unit of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in Palakkad district.

The meeting saw much discussion on morality issues in the party. The leaders were asked to shun alcohol, not dabble in real estate and money lending businesses, keep away from religious functions and generally lead a spartan life.

The decision of veteran communist leader V.S. Achuthanandan to leave the plenum over the issue on the last day (official explanation was that the leader was unwell) took the party by surprise.

Adding to the CPI-M's woes was Achuthanandan's condemnation of the party's decision to carry the advertisement in the party organ. He also said he would make enquiries into the issue.

Facing flak from all quarters despite numerous explanations, the party came out with an editorial Monday, saying that a small section in the state wants 'Deshabhimani' to be shut down.

"Incidentally this is not a recent phenomenon, instead it has been existing right since the days when EMS Namboothiripad launched "Prabhatham" in 1935 and it closed down very soon," said the editorial.

"Deshabhimani began as a weekly in 1942 and turned into a daily in 1946. In 1948 the authorities banned it and it again opened in 1951," it added.

The editorial goes on to say that the news that appear in the newspaper are not the opinion of the party.

"There is news on Manmohan Singh, Oommen Chandy, Obama and Saritha Nair - Biju Radhakrishnan (both accused in the solar scam). These are all not the opinion of the newspaper. If this is the case with regards to news, then how can you say about the advertisements that appear. Newspapers do not go in depth into the background of the advertiser and it's here the Deshabhimani alone is being targeted," says the editorial.

The editorial ends by stating that the advertisement does not belong to the newspaper but to the advertiser alone.

(Posted on 02-12-2013)