New analysis | CPI (M) Secretary of State Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has his work cut out for him

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He is to suppress the emerging factionalism within the official group at the district level ahead of the state conference in Ernakulam next February.

Returning as head of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala for a third term, Secretary of State Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s top priority will be to suppress emerging factionalism within the official group at the district level ahead of the state conference. in Ernakulam next February.

His return after a one-year hiatus indicated that he would remain in this post. But much has changed politically, including the historic second term of the Democratic Left Front (LDF) government led by Pinarayi Vijayan, defying the four-decade tendency to sideline incumbents.

With Mr. Balakrishnan appearing in good health and his confidence level high, party sources said the state leadership would like him to keep tabs on the 14 district conferences starting this month. These conferences would elect approximately 40 to 60 members, including the district secretary as well as state conference delegates.

The meeting of the zonal committees in many regions, particularly in the districts of Kozhikode, Palakkad and Malappuram, saw stiff competition between the official panel and the rebel panels. The state committee of the CPI (M) had previously suggested avoiding the vote and reaching a consensus in the choice of members.

The factional struggle saw the defeat of the legislator Kongad K. Shantakumari in the Kuzhalmannam region committee. A show of force was observed between the Kozhikode District Secretary P. Mohanan’s Combine and Central Committee member Elamaram Karim and a panel led by Public Works Minister PA Mohammed Riyas in the Kozhikode city committees.

Party sources said Mr. Balakrishnan will ensure that the state conference runs smoothly, unlike the party’s turbulent times when a faction led by veteran leader VS Acuthanandan was on one side and Mr. Vijayan. the other. Full members of the state committee, delegates and observers will participate in the state conference.

With good rapport between them, many believe that Mr. Vijayan, 76, and Mr. Balakrishnan, 68, are the yin and yang in the party structure. Both members of the Polit Bureau are staunch supporters of the party, but Mr. Balakrishnan has a characteristic blend of rigidity and flexibility.

For now, the state leadership would not have to worry much about the dynamics unfolding at the district level. Nonetheless, he would have to deal with former lawmakers who were on the bench on the eve of the Assembly elections and with potential senior leaders who could possibly pose a threat to the Pinarayi-Kodiyeri combine.

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