Rebel's murder likely to overshadow CPM scene

For the uninitiated south Keralite, Onchiyam – a village in the northern Kozhikode district – could evoke anything between the romance of glorious martyrdom and bloody, bitter political vendetta.

A visit to the village two weeks ahead of a hard-fought Lok Sabha election, however, unfolds a picture of calm.

Onchiyam, where the slain T P Chandrasekharan launched the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) after breaking away from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), is looking to move ahead even as the past reappears in its corners and dusty by-lanes, in the form of TP’s face splashed on posters for the RMP candidate P Kumarankutty.

It’s difficult to look past the murder of TP in a politically volatile area like Vadakara, says Jayachandran, a resident of nearby Vellikulangara.

“Look at the prominent candidates from the constituency: (A N) Shamseer is from the CPM that had some of its members involved in the killing, Mullappally Ramachandran is the Congress minister who has repeatedly said there could be involvement of more CPM leaders and RMP’s Kumarankutty was a special prosecutor in the case… they are all connected to this incident,” he says.

Onchiyam comes with history of a celebrated Communist struggle. The Martyrs’ Square stands here as tribute to 10 Communists who were killed in police firing and torture in 1948.

A resident of the area, while refusing to disclose his name, says it is “unfortunate” that the village is now tagged solely to the controversial murder on May 4, 2012.

Rajeev, a RMP sympathiser from Nadapuram, however, feels the election result could double as response to some of the “dubious” stands taken by the CPM in connection with the murder.

He also points out reports that CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan is unlikely to campaign in Vadakara in the backdrop of his recent U-turn on the case where he said the party had “done enough” as corrective action.

Vatsan, a local CPM worker, shuns subtleties. “It’s going to be Shamseer all the way in Vadakara”, he says. What about the critical RMP votes? – “They’ll get some votes but not enough of them”.

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