Vijayan seeks to placate CPI with Rajya Sabha seat

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday sprang a surprise when he offered one Rajya Sabha seat to the CPI – the second-biggest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) – while his CPI-M keeps the other that they are sure to win.

Of late, the CPI, especially its state Secretary Kanam Rajendran, has been vocal on a few decisions taken by Vijayan and had minced no words about them. It is seen that with this unexpected offer, Vijayan will be able to keep them quiet.

The CPI was quick to announce its candidate will be its Kannur district party Secretary P. Santhosh Kumar.

LDF Convenor A. Vijayaraghavan, soon after the LDF meeting, informed the media that the CPI-M and CPI will share the two seats and the respective parties will decide on who their candidates would be.

On Tuesday when CPI-M state Secretary opened the topic of the two Rajya Sabha seats at the LDF meeting, alliance partners including the CPI, the NCP and also outgoing member M.V. Shreyams Kumar’s LJD also raised their wish to get one seat, but Vijayan put the issue to rest when he said that this time, it is essential that a CPI member should be there in the Upper House and soon everyone agreed to this.

The two seats are out of the three that will fall vacant next month as as sitting members – Congress veteran A.K.Antony, CPI-M’s K. Somaprasad, and Shreyams Kumar – retire.

The third seat will be won by the Congress-led opposition and if a need arises for an election, it will happen on March 31.

With the CPI getting the seat, their tally in the upper house will go up to two as former state Minister Binoy Viswam is already a member.

Now all eyes are on the CPI-M nominee as there are quite a few hopefuls. But, here too, it would be Vijayan who will take the call as he did it last year when he chose top journalist John Brittas, who headed the party-backed TV channel and V. Sivadasan, who was heading the social media campaign team of the CPI-M.

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