He will continue as MLA from the Kundara constituency

After putting up some stiff resistance all these days, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby has finally agreed to abide by the party State leadership’s decision that he should not quit his Kundara Assembly seat in the light of the Lok Sabha poll setback.

Party general secretary Prakash Karat communicated Mr. Baby’s decision to the party State committee, which began a two-day meeting here on Sunday.

With this, the curtain has come down on a debate within the party on whether or not an individual leader could take such a position when the electoral rout itself was something that affected the entire party. Mr. Baby had tried to justify his position by citing ethical compulsions, but finally he appears to have been forced to accept the principle of political pragmatism.

Tredwell issue

Significantly, Mr. Baby did not get much support from the State committee members who participated in the discussion. Many were, in fact, critical of his public pronouncements on the issue and pointed out that though many stalwart leaders had in the past suffered electoral rout, none had made an issue of it.

One particular election-related issue to figure in the discussions was the impact the airing of an interview with Gail Tredwell, former resident of the Mata Amrithanandamayi Math and author of the book ‘Holy Hell’ had on the poll outcome in the Alappuzha and Mavelikara constituencies.

The State committee was also focused on political issues, particularly the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a major player at the national level and need to devise strategies to counter possible spread of BJP’s influence in the State.

The upcoming local body elections could test the strength of the various political forces and this should be one of the major concerns of the party, the members felt.

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