KOLLAM: Despite failing to avoid a contest, the official faction gained a clear upper hand in CPM Kollam district committee, which was long boasted by the VS faction as it citadel.
The four VS loyalists who contested against the 43-member official panel of the outgoing committee suffered defeat. However, as expected, the current district secretary K Rajagopal will continue in the office for the fourth term in a row.
Out of the seven new members to the district committee, five are Pinaryi loyalists. While strong VS supporters Karingannoor Murali and M Gangadhara Kurup made it to the panel, the Pinarayi loyalists Anchalummodu area secretary V K Anirudhan, Kollam area secretary P Somanathan, former Kadakkal area secretary Karakulam Babu, Karshaka Sangham leader C Baldwin, KSKTU leader C Thankapan too found place in the committee. VS faction leaders K V Rajendran and C Mukesh were excluded from the district committee and B Raghavan opted himself out of the committee. It was earlier said that B Raghavan’s exclusion was an attempt to sack Mercykuttyamma, an advocate of VS faction. However, she was retained.
It is learnt that at least 27 members of the committee supports the official faction. Earlier, the CPM state leadership tried its best to avoid an election and reach a consensus. Two torchbearers of the VS faction in the district, X Earnest and P R Vasanthan, were roped in by the official faction using pressure tactics. This turned out to be a key move which helped Pinarayi faction in gaining upper hand in the district committee.
The district secretariat meeting ran into late noon, in its attempt to avoid a contest. Following the failure of the consensus talks, an election held in which K V Rajendran, J Biju, N Santhosh and Rajagopalan Nair contested from the VS faction against the 43-member official panel. However, the official panels emerged victors. A 44-member delegation was also selected for the state conference. The three-day party conference concluded on Wednesday with a mass rally attended by hundreds of party workers from various parts of the district. The mass rally from Asramam Maidan culminated at Cantonment maidan, where the party leaders, including Pinarayi Vijayan and V S Achuthanandan addressed the party workers at a public meeting.