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After LS poll setback in Kerala, can CPI(M) ‘rein in’ CM Vijayan?

Thiruvananthapuram, June 21, 2024
The five-day meeting of the CPI(M) committee, which reviewed the Lok Sabha election setback and other issues, seems to have focused particularly on the operational style of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The meeting concluded on Thursday here.

Despite state party secretary M.V. Govindan skirting the issue when questioned about whether Chief Minister Vijayan’s tough demeanour contributed to the election loss, the decision to form a high-level party committee to monitor the CM indicates a significant move to restrain his authority.

This precautionary step aims to prevent a situation similar to the party’s severe losses in West Bengal and Tripura.

Coincidentally, soon after casting his vote in his hometown Kannur on April 26, CM Vijayan expressed confidence that the Left was poised for a historic victory. However, the CPI(M)-led Left ultimately secured only one seat, while the BJP opened its account and the Congress-led UDF won 18 seats.

Following these events, murmurs began among CPI leaders, with a section openly attributing the electoral setback to CM Vijayan’s governing style. The RJD also joined in, calling for a comprehensive introspection.

During the subsequent five-day CPI(M) meeting to discuss the debacle, CM Vijayan notably remained silent despite criticism from figures like two-time former Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and others who pointed directly at the CM and his leadership approach, particularly highlighting his handling of the situation in Pathanamthitta.

CM Vijayan’s unexpected silence has raised eyebrows, given his reputation for quick temper and lack of diplomacy in public. State party secretary Govindan, who understands the CM well, dismissed suggestions of changing Vijayan’s style, noting that the media often portrays him differently.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury announced that all issues would be addressed at the upcoming central committee meeting in Delhi starting on June 28.

At 79 years of age, CM Vijayan has been leading the government in Kerala since 2016, with his second term starting in 2021 amid controversies involving his daughter’s IT firm under investigation and frequent family trips abroad.

Adding to his troubles, his longtime rival K. Sudhakaran secured a significant victory in Kannur, which has been particularly stinging for CM Vijayan.

All attention now turns to the Delhi meetings, where the party’s state unit has approved the formation of a committee. It remains to be seen whether CM Vijayan will face constraints, with national leadership possibly intervening — a potential first-time scenario for him.(Agency)

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