CPI(M) set to tackle factional differences at Kozhikode district meet

State leadership has its task cut out

Stage is set for a showdown between two opposing groups in the official faction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] with its three-day Kozhikode district conference beginning on Monday.

The conference, to be monitored by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and party State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, both Polit Bureau members, assumes significance as its outcome will broadly serve as a guiding template for the State conference in Ernakulam next month.

Although the CPI(M) allows a system of internal democracy for its members, the State leadership is unhappy with indiscipline now escalating at district-levels. The apparent rise of Minister for Public Works P.A. Mohamed Riyas in the upper echelon has brought in a new balance of power on the complex web of politics of the CPI(M) in Kozhikode.

Sources said that a demonstration of strength witnessed between the nascent group led by Mr. Riyas and the combine of district secretary P. Mohanan and Central committee member Elamaram Kareem in area conferences in Kozhikode city had shed light on the emerging narrative in the party.

Former Kozhikode Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef and former councillors K.V. Baburaj and M. Radhakrishnan failed to get elected to their area committees. Seven secretaries out of the 16 area committees were replaced either because their term ended or they occupied elected bodies.

Internal strife among local functionaries was seen at Kunnummel and Vadakara area committees which many believe was the reflection of the Kuttiyadi rebellion when party supporters protested against the decision of the State leadership to hand over the Assembly seat to the Kerala Congress (M) in May last.

The district leadership had to intervene in Payyoli, Perambra, Kakkodi and Kunnamangalam area conferences as well, sources said.

Surely, the question uppermost in the mind of the cadre is about a change of guard in the district leadership. Chances of Mr. Mohanan being replaced remain remote as he has completed two of the three terms as district secretary. When Mr. Mohanan, a protégé of Mr. Vijayan, was elevated as secretary in 2015, the State leadership wanted to give out a clear message that the party will not be hectored by pressure tactics after he was tried by a Special Additional Sessions Court in the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party founder-leader T.P. Chandrasekharan on May 4, 2012.

A likely contender for the post of secretary is former legislator A. Pradeepkumar who is spending time more in the wilderness these days. However, his elevation to the post is dim unless a contest becomes inevitable, sources said.

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