The Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI(M) government in Kerala recently released its first list of 83 candidates for the 140-member Kerala legislative assembly elections. Interestingly, the party followed its controversial ‘maximum two-term policy’ and dropped several sitting MLAs and ministers citing they had crossed the threshold of contesting the elections after winning two assembly elections.
The strategy has been employed with the view to infuse young blood in the cadre which more often than not has remained in the shadow of communists stalwarts for decades and decades in the past. However, as noble and virtuous the decision sounds, its implementation reeks of severe partisanship and a sinister motive of Pinarayi to decimate his competitors within the party.
The centre of the controversy is CM Vijayan’s own illustrious history and how he has crossed the cutoff of ‘two-term’ policy well in advance. A five-time MLA, Vijayan is eyeing glory for a sixth term in the house. His close confidants like KK Shailja herself is a three-time MLA and yet has got the nod to contest the elections. While five cabinet ministers and 25 MLAs have been given the axe citing the two-term theory, these two and several others close to Vijayan camp have been given the green flag to engage in election battles.
The CPI(M) Kerala turf has always been divided into two factions. One side has been lead by Pinarayi and his coterie of loyalists while the other has been lead by senior party leaders like former CM V S Achuthanandan. Thus a political battle has already started simmering in the poll-bound state after the tickets of veteran leaders like AK Balan, P Jayarajan, G Sudhakaran, C Ravindranath, TM Thomas Isaac, Assembly Speaker P Sriramakrishnan, and of course, V S Achuthanandan was cut in a rather unceremonious way.
Despite the party dropping senior leaders and fielding new candidates, the average age remained on the higher side. Of the 83 candidates, 57 are above the age of 50 while 24 are beyond 60.
With a resurgent BJP making giant strides in the south, the last thing the CPM needs is turmoil within the party ranks. However, Vijayan’s bloodlust for power has driven the left party to the precipice of civil war and the coming days might see a full-blown rebellion.
Kerala is one of the only states where CPI(M) has any existence in the country. And if an internal war becomes the reason for its ultimate fall then the sole blame of it will lie on CM Pinarayi Vijayan who has been trying to usurp all the political power in the state to cement a unilateral rule of reign for himself.