To ensure that his clout over the party is firmly under his belt, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is leaving nothing to chance, as he has decided to take the centre stage at the 14 district party conferences, the first of which begins on Friday at his home district-Kannur.
In the CPI-M, an out and out cadre party, where everything is well planned and the leaders are elected, the most important event of every party unit is the state conference held in every state once in three years and the district level party conference is the last one ahead of the state conference to be held in Ernakulam in February.
Even though aberrations have surfaced at quite a few districts when the lower level committee meetings were held, where sounds of anti-Vijayan was heard, the decision that Vijayan himself will arrive in most of the district conference, clearly shows that he does not wish to lose the grip he has in the party for close to two decades.
The grassroots party meetings at districts like Alappuzha, Kannur, Idukki, Ernakulam and Malappuram saw an uneasy calm when some members expressed their displeasure in the manner in which Vijayan is going forward, after winning a historic second term in the April 6 Assembly elections.
A medic critic on condition of anonymity said Vijayan is the be all and end all both in the party and in the government and he knows that if he wants to continue as the unquestioned leader, he will have to ascertain himself and does not wish to lose it.
“Unlike other parties, in the CPI-M things are a bit different. If a leader loses his grip, then curtains are down for him in the party, as such is the party structure. Now all eyes are on if there is going to be age restrictions that will come into play as speculations are rife that the party might put a maximum age of 75, after which such members will have to make way for others. Vijayan is 76 now. Of course there will be exemptions and the very fact that he has decided to attend maximum district conferences, itself shows, he will douse any banter against him, if at all,” said a critic on condition of anonymity.
Incidentally, Vijayan has chalked out a road map and that has begun with his participation at maximum district conferences, so as to retain his firm grip in the party as the delegates from these district conferences are selected to attend the state conference.
“Once he ensures his dominance in the state conference, then he would ensure that his dominance continues at the national level. He saw to it that the Party Congress is scheduled at his home district – Kannur in April and his game plan is very clear that he wants to prove that his is the final word in the party at all levels. If he is able to do that, then for the next three years, nothing in the party will move without his concurrence. Now let us wait to see if his plans go according to what he has drawn out,” added the critic.