THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The surprise selection of Pannian Raveendran as the state secretary has let loose the jinn of factionalism in the state unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI), the fourth largest party in the state Assembly.
The resentment against the national leadership among those who support AITUC state secretary Kanam Rajendran is lingering as they feel that they had been denied the democratic right to elect the new secretary.
They feel that Monday’s developments were part of a clever move to prevent Kanam from assuming the stewardship of the party state unit executed with the blessings of a section of the national leadership.
According to them, this was evident from the constituting of the new state executive committee by inducting five new members before selecting C K Chandrappan’s successor. As the demise of the state secretary immediately after a state conference was an unusual development, selecting the state secretary should have been the primary step, they said.
But those leaders of the anti-Kanam faction, who foresaw the upper hand he might gain, did not want to leave no stone unturned and managed to reconstitute the state executive panel. Thus, out of the five new members, four supported C Divakaran and his name was proposed for the secretaryship by the executive.
However, Divakaran had to face stiff opposition in the state council meeting and even those who were guided by him in the party unleashed a scathing attack, rather surprisingly. He was criticised for his alleged attitude towards the cadre and his public behaviour, especially when he was a Minister. This made one to say, "We should not have an authoritarian secretary as in the CPM.’’ Many in the state council meeting echoed this sentiment.
This was followed by an emotional speech by Divakaran, who said, "I am carrying this red flag from 1964. Many of you might not have even born, then. But I am facing this kind of an opposition for the first time.’’
But as he went on to add "I had organised the 18th Party Congress’’, many members were on their feet in protest asking "how can you alone conduct it? Where was the party then? This is your basic problem.’’
Later, he told the council, while announcing his decision to back out from the race, that "I apologise if my deeds did hurt any comrade.’’ Many are upset with the national leadership for neglecting the sentiments of the majority in the state council, including the support of nine district secretaries to Kanam. However, party general secretary S Sudhakara Reddy, who denied the existence of factionalism in the party, said here on Tuesday, "We do not want to impose any name from the centre.’’