MALAPPURAM:It’s Kanam Rajendran again. Despite flashes of factionalism threatening to overshadow the four-day CPI state conference here, Kanam was unanimously re-elected for a second term as the party’s state secretary.
Speaking to the media after his re-election, Kanam stressed the need to maintain unity within the party. Though there was no major reshuffle in the state council, a couple of senior leaders from both factions, including Vazhoor Soman and M P Achuthan, did not make it to the council.E S Bijimol, who had faced disciplinary action earlier, returned to the council. With controversies related to the control commission remarks against K E Ismail creating ripples at the conference, factionalism in the party had surfaced at the Malappuram gathering.
On Sunday morning, state council members were elected first. Despite the leadership’s best efforts to avoid elections, there were differences in some district councils. Kanam was later declared the state secretary.The new state council has 25 fresh faces, while 18 were dropped from the previous panel. The total number of women in the leadership increased from 10 to 13, including eight new faces. The strength of the state council also increased from 89 to 96. Similarly, one more member was added to the number of candidate members, taking the total to 10. With nine control commission members, a total of 115 members were elected.The state meet also elected 100 delegates for the 23rd party congress in addition to 10 alternative delegates. Five leaders representing the central leadership - Kanam, Ismail, Pannian Raveendran, Binoy Viswam and control commission member C A Kurian - will be part of the party congress.
Though there was speculation that senior leader C Divakaran may contest against Kanam, the former made it clear on Sunday that he was not interested. Unity within the party is of utmost importance, insisted Divakaran.Senior leader from Idukki and Kanam’s confidant Soman, who had faced corruption charges, could not make it to the council. Achuthan, former MP and strongman in the Ismail camp, too went out. Former AIYF state president G Krishnaprasad chose to step down from the council.
Control commission chairman and secretary Veliyam Rajan and A K Chandran were replaced. The control commission report and its remarks on national executive member Ismail did rake up a minor controversy.
Chandran was chosen for the council from Thrissur. As expected, Bijimol returned to the state council. The Peerumedu MLA was demoted to the district council as part of disciplinary action against her following the ‘godfather’ controversy. Instead of Eswary Resan, a tribal leader from Attappadi and known to be close to Ismail, K Mallika became the candidate member from Palakkad.
Though the leadership was successful in avoiding elections to the state council in other districts, a contest was held in Ernakulam, where the Ismail faction has an upper hand. The Kanam faction faced a setback with both K N Dinakaran and V K Sivan losing. There are reports that an election was held for the Idukki council also. In Palakkad and Alappuzha, a contest for state council was avoided only at the last minute. Differences came up at Kollam and Wayanad district councils too.
The members of the new control commission are J Venugopalan Nair, J Uadayabhanu, H Rajeevan, M P Vidyadharan, Joykutty Jose, Mathew Varghese, K K Ashraff, A N Rajan and C P Murali. Of the nine members, three old hands - Udayabhanu, Jose and Murali - have been retained. Of the former panel, the chairman stepped down citing ill health.