Chintha — a weekly magazine published under the guidance of CPM — has dragged the communist party in a fresh controversy after it published an advertisement for the Adani group of companies. This is especially important in the background of CPM’s opposition against Adani managing the Trivandrum International Airport.
The advertisement, which appeared in the last edition of January 2021, claims that the company is a leading power in sectors such as coal, port management, energy, and energy transmission. Ironically, Chintha has been a platform on which countless articles alleging the illicit relationship between the BJP-led Centre and the Adani Company had been published.
Moreover, the CPM has been at loggerheads with the industrialist in the wake of his company taking over the operations of the Trivandrum International Airport. Even though the Airport Authority of India cleared the deal, the CPM-led Kerala government had challenged it at the Supreme Court. In this context, it is very dubious and ideologically questionable that a magazine visibly controlled by the party took money from the Adani group for an advertisement.
However, this is not the first time that a party publication has displayed a problematic personality in their pages. In 2013, the party’s mouthpiece Deshabhimani featured a front-page advertisement where infamous industrialist VM Radhakrishnan — of the Surya Group — appreciated the party plenum in Palakkad. On that day, the paper had carried an advertisement for the Surya group in all its editions. Ironically, many who had attended the plenum had requested party members to cut ties with mafias and controversial industrialists.
The problem at hand was that Radhakrishnan, then, had been accused of corruption in the Malabar Cements, and abetment to suicide in the deaths of Company Secretary Saseendran and his family. The Central Bureau of Investigation had arrested Radhakrishnan in the abetment case, following complaints from Saseendran’s wife, who alleged that the industrialist had threatened their family.
However, the then editor of the paper, EP Jayarajan justified the issue. “A newspaper needs advertisements to run, and so it can seek that from anywhere,” he had said, adding that Tata and Birla are not saints, and the paper still uses their advertisements. “There is nothing wrong in taking advertisement from VM Radhakrishnan, as we had published the advertisement following the paper’s policies,” he had further said.