Kerala CPM on sticky wicket as central committee meets on June 28

The CC is likely to concur with the state leadership’s move to set priorities for the government’s remaining nearly two-year term.
CPM flag used for representation
CPM flag used for representation (Photo | Express)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time in nearly a decade, the Kerala CPM is likely to be on the defensive at the party’s central committee meeting, beginning in New Delhi on Friday. The three-day meeting, which will review the Lok Sabha poll outcome, is expected to single out the party’s disastrous performance in Kerala and set in motion urgent steps towards course correction.

CPM flag used for representation
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The party-state leadership, LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had drawn flak at the recent state and district-level meets of the CPM. The CC meet could well reflect the growing criticism at the lower echelons. The CC is likely to concur with the state leadership’s move to set priorities for the government’s remaining nearly two-year term.

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The CC is also expected to discuss the controversial issue surrounding senior leader and LDF convenor E P Jayarajan meeting BJP leader Prakash Javadekar ahead of the polls. His meeting with Javadekar, in addition to certain remarks in favour of BJP candidates, had come under scanner at party meets.

The CC is expected to take a call on whether disciplinary action should be initiated against the senior leader. Ever since the decimation of the CPM in West Bengal and its loss of power in Tripura, the Kerala wing of the party, especially Pinarayi, has been holding the reins in the central committee and the politburo. However, the debacle in the LS polls -- for the second time in a row Kerala could return only one MP even as neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where the party is a junior partner in the DMK-led alliance, returned two CPM MPs -- has punctured the dominance of the Kerala unit in the national leadership.

CPM flag used for representation
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In a first, the Kerala CPM has been witness to unprecedented criticism of Pinarayi and the state leadership. Some party leaders pointed out that the party had to pay the price for the arrogant and autocratic style of functioning of some senior leaders, including the chief minister. There have been demands that the party should take measures for introspection and urgent course correction. Senior national leaders, including general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat, were witness to the stinging criticism that came up in the party state committee and secretariat meetings.

Naturally the CC too will discuss the issues. “If the government does not have money, it should move forward after identifying priority areas like pensions. Similarly, behaving politely with the people is a must. The arrogant approach and lack of connect with people do have an adverse impact. The sooner leaders and cadres realise it, the better,” said a state committee member.

On self-correction by senior leaders like Pinarayi and Jayarajan, it’s for them to take a call, said a senior leader. “It’s true that there was criticism against these leaders. But they stand too ‘tall’ to be corrected. They will have to do it themselves,” said another leader. The party will hold another state committee meet in mid-July to discuss the CC decisions.

Both the party and the government should initiate urgent measures if they have to survive the recent electoral thrashing, said political commentator J Prabhsh.“For the last eight years, the party has had no control over the government. It’s now time that it did. It should not be the other way round. Similarly, it’s time for the government tore-prioritise its initiatives and plans for the future,” he said. Being polite and cordial towards the public is an essential democratic step that the CM and other leaders should follow, he said.

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