KOCHI/KANNUR: The sudden announcement of CPM strongman and Industries Minister EP Jayarajan to quit electoral politics has come as a surprise for party workers and political observers. It is a pointer to the uneasiness slowly developing in the Kannur lobby of CPM against the supremacy of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Jayarajan, who was kept out of the fray, told a news conference in Kannur that he is retiring from electoral politics as he has become old and is plagued with health problems.
“Things are not as you see it. I am getting old and cannot be actively involved in election activities and other services to people,” he said. “I will not fight in another election. I don’t wish to fight either. It’s the party’s decision to not allow seats to those who had completed two consecutive terms. So, my term is over,” said Jayarajan.
“I was MLA for three terms and a minister in the present cabinet. That is enough,” he said. Jayarajan said he had wished to come back in the ministry after his ignominious exit to clear the allegations against him. “I accomplished that too,” he said.When pointed out that Pinarayi has also become old, Jayarajan said, “Pinarayi Vijayan is a great person who possesses extraordinary energy and talents. If I could be anywhere near his stature, I would become a great man.
It’s my great disappointment that I cannot be like him. He has a clear vision about everything he does and is a determined man.” There is more to his plain words than meets the eye. Sources said Jayarajan was upset after he was denied a ticket. Health Minister K K Shailaja is contesting from Mattannur, from where Jayarajan won in 2016.
Mediapersons who tried to contact Jayarajan were not entertained and he did not confide anything even to his close associates. There is a feeling that Jayarajan and Pinarayi were not having a cordial relationship of late. Pinarayi came up the stipulation that those who successfully contested twice should not be in the fray to keep T M Thomas Isaac and G Sudhakaran away. Jayarajan expected an exemption, but it did not materialise due to many factors.
There were some controversies surrounding the leader which paved the way for his exit from the cabinet. He returned to the post after the Vigilance gave him a clean chit in the case. Jayarajan’s wife’s visit to a bank in Kannur last September while she was allegedly under quarantine had kicked up another row. She clarified that she was not under quarantine and had gone to the bank to take some ornaments to gift her grandchildren during their birthday.
The founding national president of the DYFI, Jayarajan was the victim of political violence more than once. He was shot inside a train while returning from Chandigarh after attending the party congress in 1995. A seriously-injured Jayarajan was admitted to various hospitals and is living with a piece of bullet inside his body. It was alleged that Congress leader K Sudhakaran was the main conspirator in the incident, but the court removed his name from the chargesheet. A country bomb was thrown at Jayarajan at Thalassery in 2000 allegedly by RSS workers, but the accused was let off by the court.
CPM is actively considering elevating Jayarajan, who was the CPM Kannur district secretary for many years, as the party state secretary after the elections. Protest had erupted in CPM after seat was denied to another senior leader P Jayarajan, who was accused of ‘growing taller than the party.’ The Facebook page ‘PJ Army’ was boiling with resentment against the party for ignoring the leader who was the victim of RSS violence. A flex board hailing Jayarajan had appeared in Dharmadom from where Pinarayi is contesting.
Observers feel that the voices of dissent against Pinarayi will die out if LDF stages a comeback. But factionalism will return with a vengeance if Left tastes a defeat at the hustings.