Veteran hardline Marxist V.S. Achuthanandan Thursday said he was sorry that he violated party discipline, openly taking a stance on issues that was at odds with his party's. But the former Kerala chief minister asserted he would speak up if ever he felt something was wrong.
On the Kudankulam nuclear plant and the murder of former party colleague T.P. Chandrasekheran, Achuthanandan had publicly expressed views that were at variance with the position of his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). On Thursday, Achuthanandan said he regretted those statements.
He said he also regretted comparing state CPI-M secretary Pinarayi Vijayan with S.A. Dange, a founding member of the Communist Party of India who wrote letters to the then colonial government offering to cooperate with Britain against Germany in World War II.
"The central committee and the state unit of the party wanted me to make an open admission of the stand that I took against the official stand of the party, and, therefore, I am doing this. But I wish to make things clear that I will speak out again when I feel there is something wrong, that's for certain," said Achuthanandan to reporters at a very crowded press conference here at his official residence.
Achuthanandan started a journey to Kudankulam last month, but returned after Tamil Nadu Police stopped him at the entry point of the state near here.
He said he wished to express solidarity with protestors at Kudankulam who are up in arms against the nuclear power plant, because they fear the plant would pose a danger to their life and livelihood.
"Yes, I should not have gone there because the stand of my party was different. I admit what I did was not right," Achuthanandan said.
On directions from his party, he attempted also to clarify another matter: the comparison he made when he called Vijayan a 'Dangeist' (after S.A. Dange).
"I said this because Chandrasekheran was a former party colleague and he was brutally murdered, stabbed 51 times. Vijayan, as you all know, referred to Chandrasekheran as a renegade five times, which was not right. Chandrasekheran, for more than three decades, was associated with the party. I admit I should not have called Vijayan like that," said Achuthanandan, who added that the response was made while answering a reporter's question.
Achuthanandan also said that his visit to the widow of Chandrasekheran on June 2, when the crucial Neyattinkara by-election took place, was not the right thing to do.
"I went there on that day because the previous day I had a meeting near his home and hence I chose that day. There was no other reason for choosing that time to visit," Achuthanandan said.
On Thursday, at the conclusion of the two-day meeting here the CPI-M state committee reiterated that Achuthanandan should admit his lapse at a press conference because all his earlier remarks were made while interacting with media people.
Asked if he was happy to see the change in Achuthanandan, Vijayan Thursday said, "Yes, the party is now very happy."
People now wait to see what Achuthanandan's next move would be. In his long career in the party, which he was instrumental in forming in 1964 after the split in the CPI in the wake of the 1962 Chinese aggression, he has not been known for meekness. On seven occasions, the party initiated proceedings against him for violation of discipline.