Kerala Assembly elections | P. Jayarajan’s ‘captain’ post triggers debate

A Facebook post by CPI(M) leader P. Jayarajan seemed to have stoked a debate on whether the party is in the grip of a personality cult centred around Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mr. Jayarajan had stated that only the party deserved the honorific title "captain". His remark accrued a measure of news value on Saturday because the title had arguably become a euphemism for Mr. Vijayan of late.

The Chief Minister, however, had made light of it at a press conference in Kannur, saying that people bestowed labels, and it was normal.

Mr. Jayarajan had said Mr. Vijayan's popularity had upset the UDF and certain sections of the media. Communists stood shoulder to shoulder with the people. Hence, the masses feted communists by singing ballads about them or tattooed their names. However, communists would not fall for idolisation, he added.

Quoting CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Mr. Jayaran posted: "In this party, all are comrades.”

Mr. Jayarajan himself was a magnet for lionisation by adoring party members. A social media group called "P J Army" had campaigned for his candidature in the Assembly elections.

Hoardings and cut-outs featuring his larger-than-life images had appeared in Kannur when the CPI(M) grappled with candidate selection. Soon, Mr. Jayarajan distanced himself from the publicity blitz.

Different view

A Congress insider viewed the development differently. He said Industries Minister E. P. Jayarajan's vow to quit electoral politics and Mr. Jayarajan's recent averment might indicate a new alignment against Mr. Vijayan in the CPI(M). He also said Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had indicated that he would take a sabbatical from party work for pursuing academics.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan said Mr. Vijayan was the LDF's campaign leader. He was captaining the poll campaign. CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran said communists were comrades.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 1:58:00 PM |

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