Task cut out for new Kerala CPM secretary

The CPM in Kerala has effected a smooth and significant change of guard at its helm without much ado.

Published: 02nd September 2022 07:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2022 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Excise minister MV Govindan

MV Govindan (Photo| Facebook)

The CPM in Kerala has effected a smooth and significant change of guard at its helm without much ado. An ailing Kodiyeri Balakrishnan chose to step down as state secretary, paving the way for popular ideologue MV Govindan to take over. If Kodiyeri epitomised the party’s diplomatic face, Govindan is its ideological face. His ascent to the top post is almost akin to that of Pinarayi Vijayan’s in 1998, when he took over the reins after the demise of incumbent Chadayan Govindan.

If the CPM had reposed its faith in 53-year-old Pinarayi, then a minister in the E K Nayanar cabinet, 69-year-old Govindan is currently the local self-government minister. A proponent of dialectical materialism, Govindan has indeed big shoes to fill. Kodiyeri has the rare distinction of leading the party during its testing times and coming out unscathed.

He took over at a time when a faction-ridden CPM was facing several inner-party crises. He successfully ended the factional war, pacified a belligerent ally, CPI, as often as necessary, and drew more parties into the Left fold. He acted as the bridge between Pinarayi and the party; under him, the CPM got continuity in government for the first time. The Pinarayi-Kodiyeri duo has been the face of the party for almost a decade. That will change now.

Stepping into Kodiyeri’s shoes, Govindan will have to hit the ground running and ensure that the synergy between the party and government is not lost. Putting together a plan for the Left to make it count in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls would be the immediate challenge. With the BJP eyeing Kerala, he faces an even bigger task of protecting the only remaining red bastion in the country.

Curtailing growing intolerance and anti-Left tendencies among party workers and ministers that alienate the masses at the ground level would be another job for Govindan. How well he can prepare the party for the post-Pinarayi era and attract the younger generation to the Left brigade will dictate the party’s future in the long run. Coming from Kerala’s communist cradle, Kannur, Govindan has the right pedigree, upbringing, and training, and the time has come to prove his mettle.

India Matters


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