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Whose (party) line is it anyway? Vijayan is just changing with the times

Sourjya Bhowmick | Updated on: 25 July 2016, 22:37 IST

Pinarayi Vijayan has barely completed two months as the chief minister of Kerala, and he has already been hit by controversy.

The central leadership of the CPM has asked its Kerala unit to explain the reasons of appointing distinguished Harvard economist Gita Gopinath as the economic advisor to Vijayan.

The basis is Gopinath's economic understanding (identified as rightist, neo-liberal) that goes directly against the party's economic line.

Also read - 'Iron-fisted' Pinarayi to be Kerala CM: Here are the challenges he faces

Earlier, Gopinath wrote that opening up of 100% foreign ownership across industries will have a positive impact, Modi governments tough choices over 'populist policies' has controlled fiscal deficit, and 'hard work' done by the Modi government has helped India distinguish itself among emerging market economies. She had also lauded Arun Jaitley's budget last year as it advanced a pro-growth agenda and enhanced ease of doing business.

CPM's Kerala unit and Vijayan are both known to be rigidly against neo-liberal economic policies and her views goes against their economic understanding.

"Economic experts might have different opinions and answers to problems. For us, she is one of the leading world economists with roots in Kerala. What is wrong in asking her views and opinions on world economy and make use of whatever we want? As long as our stand is clear, there is no need for a worry on any departure from the party line," Vijayan told The Indian Express.

The million dollar question is - Has he changed his stance after assuming chief ministerial responsibilities?

The answer is Darwinism.

Since the opening up of markets in the early 1990s, socialism has become passe in India. Additionally, West Bengal's economy failed leading to industrial decay. The crumble was authored by the communists and their policies. Kerala, another state ruled by the communists intermittently, remained mostly dependent on tourism and remittances.

The last decade has been marked by Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation(LPG) - which have become basic tenets of economy. And Gita Gopinath understands that well. However, CPM is still stuck with protests against LPG while the present generation aggressively consume foreign products of Apple, Nike, and Gucci and remain wanting.

The fact - Capitalism is a chameleon changing its colour to protect itself from predators (socialism). And socialism is possibly not equipped enough to hunt it down though aware of its weaknesses.

Vijayan possibly understands that the CPM's mindset must modify with changing times. And hence, the decision to appoint Gopinath.

This explanation finds resonance when he says 'economic experts might have different opinions and answers to problems. What is wrong in asking her views and opinions on world economy and make use of whatever we want'.

Incidentally, his political career is marked with allegations of deviation from Stalinism, such as believing in class cooperation and not class struggle.

But does it guarantee Gopinath's suggestions will be adopted?

We must note that she is just an advisor, without any executive powers. And Vijayan has already said "As long as our stand is clear, there is no need for a worry on any departure from the party line".

The question that remains- Will Gopinath's fate be the same like Raghuram Rajan? Well, many find a similarity between Vijayan and Modi's working style, so let's wait and see.

Also read - Pinarayi Vijayan: From handloom weaver to Kerala's Chief Minister-elect

First published: 25 July 2016, 22:37 IST
 
Sourjya Bhowmick @sourjyabhowmick

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