Is Kerala CPI losing its sheen?

The Kerala CPI’s decision to elect a new leadership has triggered speculation about the party losing its sheen in the state politics.

Known to play second fiddle to big brother CPI-M, the CPI was once helmed by stalwarts like C.Achutha Menon — the visionary Chief Minister who can be credited for literally building numerous institutions during his term in the late sixties and 70s. Then there were others like N.E.Balaram, M.N.Govindan Nair, T.V.Thomas, P.K.Vasudevan Nair, P.S.Sreenivasan, Veliyem Bharghavan and C.K.Chandrappan.

A political analyst on condition of anonymity said due to these stalwarts, the sort of bull dozing by leaders like Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was unheard of in the past.

The last resistance witnessed was under the leadership of people like Bharghavan and Chandrappan and the downfall started after former Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Paniyan Ravindran took over in 2012. The party seems to be the weakest under the incumbent secretary Kanam Rajendran who has completed two terms, after taking over from Ravindran in 2015.

There is no comparison between the yesteryear CPI leaders and the current.

“The present day CPI is living on the past glory as even though the party has always been the second biggest ally of the Left, the quality of their leadership, despite fewer legislators, helped them to keep their stock flying high in the past. The last of the quality of their Minister’s included V.V.Raghavan and E.Chandrasekheran Nair. After that it was more of rhetoric,” said the analyst.

“If Rajendran’s performance is to be compared with his illustrious predecessors, it’s just not comparable. This emerged stronger during the party’s ongoing district committee meetings, when he was criticised for just surrendering before Vijayan. But with Vijayan’s overbearing personality, there is no point in putting up any resistance and hence Rajendran cannot be blamed,” added the analyst.

Now all eyes are on its upcoming conference when it elects its new leadership and the hope is being pinned on the upcoming youth leaders.

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