As the curtains on the 23rd state CPI(M) party conference came down on Friday, with the party’s resolve to create a “new” Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has once again stamped his “unquestioned” leadership in the state.
The Party Congress is scheduled to be held at his home turf Kannur next month. With the CPI-M presently having a presence only in Kerala, Vijayan knows that this is the best time to consolidate his position, and after doing it in Kochi by getting all his closest aides in key posts, he has literally stamped his authority.
When the four-day conference ended, he hand-picked his loyalists for the 17-member State Secretariat which included his son-in-law P.A.Mohammed Riyas, his political secretary Puthelethu Dineshan, former Lok Sabha member P.K.Biju, State Minister’s V.N.Vasavan and Saji Cherian besides three other leaders M.Swaraj, K.K.Jayachandran (both former legislators)and Anavoor Nagappan.
With 75 being the maximum age for those holding party posts, the exemption was given only to Vijayan and through this, he managed to leave out a few seniors and bring in his men.
In the bargain, he ensured that two of the veterans — Elamaram Kareem and senior cabinet colleague M.V.Govindan — were left out from the state secretariat, but they, by virtue of being in the central committee of the national unit of the party can take part in state meetings, but if decisions have to be put to vote, these two will not have the right to vote.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said its Vijayan all the way and he has ensured that there will be none to thwart his plans and the way forward.
“With the state unit of the party and not to mention the government also firmly under his belt, the Party Congress at Kannur will be a cakewalk for him. So, with the new committee in place for three years, he will ensure that everything goes his way till then,” said the critic.
Speculations have already begun that Vijayan, in due course, will move out to accomodate present State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan as the chief minister. When it happens, Riyas will take over as the new secretary and along with Swaraj, will run the Kerala unit of the party in the years to come, as both are only in their 40s.