Will a Kerala Dalit make it to CPI-M Politburo?

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Discussion on new inductees, which also includes a Dalit as a probable candidate, to various higher committees of the party is underway at the 23rd CPI-M Party Congress in Kerala’s Kannur district.

Names of two Dalit leaders — veteran leader A.K.Balan and K.Radhakrishnan — are doing rounds in this regard.

Though veteran leader A.K.Balan is a seasoned politician and a Lok Sabha member besides serving two terms as Cabinet Minister, but his advanced age may prove to be a deterrent. He is 73 and according to the new rules, those who attain 75 cannot be considered for leadership posts.

So even if he is able to make it to the highest body of the party, he will have to bow out after three years and its here that State Minister for SC/ST and Devasoms K.Radhakrishnan emerges as a front runner.

Radhakrishnan is in his second term as a Minister and during 2006-11 he was the Speaker of the Kerala Assembly.

Among other names being considered for the politburo figures present Left Democratic Convenor and former Upper House member A. Vijayaraghavan.

Currently, there are three politburo members from the state — Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and M.A.Baby.

Rajya Sabha member and veteran CITU leader Elamaram Kareem also figures in the list.

S.Ramachandran Pillai, though a Keralite and is now retiring from the politburo, is not in it from Kerala but has been inducted from Delhi secretariat.

The hopefuls to the central committee includes former Rajya Sabha member T.N.Seema, State Minister’s K.N.Balagopal, P.Rajeev and P.A.Mohammed Riyas, who is also the son -in-law of Vijayan and former State Minister J.Mercykutty.

Meanwhile, the Central Secretariat of the party which is based out of Delhi and has not been reconstituted after 2000 is going to be revamped and the name of P.K.Biju, a former two-time Lok Sabha member and a dalit is also in the reckoning.

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