Age cap could spell doom for leadership in CPI conference

Slew of veteran leaders likely to lose place in party forums, Kanam faction’s clever move to keep rivals out may lead to contest for the post of party state secy

Published: 27th September 2022 06:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2022 06:28 AM   |  A+A-

An installation put up near the Ayyankali hall in front of University College in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the CPI state conference | Vincent Pulickal

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI state conference, scheduled to begin in the state capital on Friday, is set to be a stormy affair over the mandatory age cap of 75 years for party leadership positions. A slew of rebel leaders are set to challenge the leadership’s decision as they feel the national council’s guidelines on 75 years can be enforced only after an amendment of the party constitution.

With strong resentment brewing within a prominent section in the party against the current state leadership, the rebel faction may even field a candidate to take on incumbent Kanam Rajendran as the state secretary. In case of a contest, three-term assistant secretary K Prakash Babu would be the rebel faction’s first choice. Another plausible scenario would be to project national leader Binoy Viswam as the state secretary. However, it’s not sure whether Binoy is keen to contest.

“In all likelihood, Kanam may continue as secretary as the rival faction lacks numbers to sabotage him from getting a third term. Still, in view of the major criticism against the leadership over the age cap, a section may demand a contest. If Binoy Viswam is in the fray, the national leadership may prefer him,” pointed out a state leader. If the state conference strictly abides by the age criterion, a slew of veterans could be on their way out from party forums. In addition to 81-year old K E Ismayil and 80-year old C Divakaran, seniors A K Chandran, 76, and N Anirudhan, 79, could be dropped from the state council. Noticeably, senior leader Pannyan Raveendran could be another point of attention if the age cap is enforced. Though technically he has turned 76, his real age is 74, said party sources. It’s to be seen whether the former state secretary will make it to the council.

Senior leader K R Chandramohan could also be moved out considering his age and health condition. The place of former deputy speaker C A Kurian, who passed away last year, too has been lying vacant in the state council.

The rebels point out that strictly enforcing 75 years need not turn out to be practical. Already, there’s a system of replacing 20% of the committee members as per the constitution. Going by this, 19 of the 96-member council, will be on their way out. Now as per the new guidelines, 40% of the new committee should be those below 50 years while 15% women. A total revamp as per the new guidelines need not be practical, according to them.

“The party council has issued broad guidelines over the age criterion. As per convention, the directive by the national council is being implemented by all units. However, if it has to be a party decision, an amendment of the party constitution should be made. It has to be discussed and implemented at the coming party congress. It would be the forum to review earlier decisions,” veteran leader Ismayil told TNIE.  

Since the mandatory age cap has created a strong division in the party state unit, the forthcoming state conference will also be a pointer to the 24th party congress to be held in Vijayawada from October 14 to 18.

Prominent leaders likely to go out of state council
1.K E Ismayil  2.C DIvakaran
3. A K Chandran 4. N Anirudhan
5.K R Chandramohan



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