Ahead of its mega event commencing on October 30, cracks appeared in the ruling Left’s second biggest ally — Communist Party of India (CPI) — when veteran party leader C. Divakaran slammed state party secretary Kanam Rajendran for wanting to continue on the same post for a third term.
During the CPI’s scheduled state party conference between September 30 and October 3, a new State Council will be elected for the next three years.
Divakaran, a former three-time legislator and also a former state minister minced no words in venting his anger at Rajendran for sidelining him. Divakaran on Tuesday said that there exists only a guideline that none above age 75 years can become a member of the State Council.
“A guideline is not a rule and we are waiting for our national leadership including A. Raja to say if this is only a guideline. There are several other guidelines also, but those are not being implemented and why are some very adamant to make a guideline as a rule,” said an angry Divakaran.
He also made it very clear that there will be a contest for the post of the state secretary.
“Why should someone just cling on to that post and there is nothing to prevent a contest to the post, if a situation arises. I have always made my point very clear and will continue to do so. I am senior to Rajendran in the party,” added Divakaran.
Though the two leaders have been at loggerheads for a while, this is the first time that the differences have surfaced in the open.
Responding to Divakaran’s statement on age 75, Rajendran said this was a decision taken by the National Council of the party and his expression of it in the open amounted to violation of party discipline.
“In age he (Divakaran) is senior to me. I have been a member of the State Council since 1971, while he became one, years later. It was in March this year the National Council came out with a guideline of putting age 75 as the barrier for posts. He can say everything that he wants to say when the party state council meets,” said Rajendran.
In the Kerala unit of the CPI, for a while Rajendran has been running the show and those opposed to him include Divakaran and former State Minister K.E. Ismail. It remains to be seen if there is going to be a contest to the top post to challenge Rajendran.
The Divakaran camp is expected to raise the issue of the newly elected Bihar CPI state secretary who is aged 78.