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'CIA funds' haunt Kerala Marxists

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July 07, 2003 20:17 IST

Marxists in Kerala are seeing red, literally, after coming under attack from some of their own comrades.

The detractors have criticised a development programme that the previous Marxist government implemented in the state, saying it was sponsored by America's Central Intelligence Agency and funded by the Dutch government and the World Bank.

For the Communist Party of India-Marxist foreign funds are anathema, and the allegations against its most ambitious programme, called the People's Plan Campaign, have come as a rude shock.

In the latest issue of Malayalam bimonthly Padam, leading Marxist thinker Professor M N Vijayan has alleged that the campaign was implemented to 'derail the Kerala economy'.

CPI-M leaders who have been at the forefront of the campaign have rejected the charge, but a number of expelled Marxists have supported the professor.

According to the Padam magazine, the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Development Studies, a leading economic research institution, and the Marxists-sponsored Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, a social movement, had worked to get the funding.

A few economists working in the Untied States and Canada planned the campaign, according to the detractors.

In Kerala, a planning commission group headed by Marxist economist Thomas Issac, who is now a CPI-M legislator, implemented it.

As per the campaign, many committees on agricultural development, culture, women, sports, water, soil and education were formed in various villages.

The government also released funds, which mostly came from the Dutch government and the World Bank, to these committees, the members of which were generally filled with Marxists.

According to Kerala's Legislative Affairs Minister M M Hassan, the charges are a 'blot on the Marxists'.

"They have been accusing the central and the Kerala governments of receiving foreign funds for various development schemes. But it is shocking that the campaign was the handiwork of a few foreign economists and the funds that came were lapped up by several Marxist organisations," he said.

Hassan told that an inquiry by either the state or the central government is now necessary because 'the charges against the programme have come from the Marxists themselves'.

But Issac, whose brainchild was the programme, denied the charges. "It is an attempt to defame the Marxist leadership, which has done so much for Kerala's development through the campaign," he told

Issac said that the CPI-M leadership is ready to face any enquiry. "Those who make such wild allegations should justify it with tangible evidence."

He said that the very idea of the campaign was framed on the basis of various local developmental initiatives in Kerala and it was 'contrary to the views of the World Bank and other funding agencies'.

He refused to discuss whether organisations like the KSSP received the funds.

But despite denials from the Marxists, political demand for an enquiry as to how much money the Marxists-led Left Democratic Front government receive for implementing the campaign is on the rise.

George Iype in Kochi