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CPM to make declaration of wealth mandatory

CPM to make declaration of wealth mandatory

Author: Correspondent
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: September 7, 2009
URL: http://www.freepressjournal.in//Default.aspx?page=07_09_2009_001.jpg&ed=1014&artHigh=001_011

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has initiated a bold move to make declaration of wealth by party leaders and workers mandatory.

A meeting of the party politburo held in New Delhi on Sunday is learnt to have decided to gather the details of wealth of all leaders and workers up to the branch level the party will have permanent machinery to verify the wealth declared by individual leaders, reports in television channels said. The move is part of the correction course charted by the party in the wake of the humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Politburo member M K Pandhe told reporters after the meeting that they had held only pre liminary discussions. The politburo would meet again on October 11 to finalize the measures.

Pandhe said the party had identified the lavish lifestyle of some of its leaders and workers as one of the major reasons for the alienation of voters.

"We will now formulate norms in accordance with the party ideology for party workers to follow in every sphere of life", he added. The move will have significant impact in Kerala, since the party itself is accused of amassing wealth. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had estimated the wealth of the CPI (M) in the state at Rs.4000 crores during his term as Finance Minister in the last term of the UPA government.

The party's wealth came under the public scanner after the CPI (M) launched a series of commercial ventures like a TV channel, a water theme park, tourist resorts, hospitals, schools and colleges.

This is in addition to large extent of land the party has acquired in prime locations in cities and towns across the state for building offices for the party and its feeder organizations.

The party is considered as the single largest owner of land, buildings, properties and estates in the state.

Besides a multi-crore headquarters with a 1,500-seat centrally airconditioned auditorium, the CPI (M) has built multi-storied luxurious flats for its leaders and a huge township in a 60-acre complex to train its cadres.

Apart from the wealth amassed by the party, the luxurious living of some of its top leaders has also come in for the public criticism.
The wedding of Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's first son last year had raised eyebrows in party circles as it was one of the most expensive wedding ceremonies in the state capital.

The CBI recently looked into the assets of party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who is facing trial in the SNC Lavalin power scam. He has allegedly built a luxurious house in his home town and sent his children abroad for higher studies with the commission he got from the power deal.

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