CPI(M) expels Pala municipal councillor from party

Action attributed to violation of party discipline and an anti-Left approach by councillor

Published - June 11, 2024 08:44 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

In a significant development, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] on Tuesday expelled Binu Pulikkakandam, a municipal councillor in Pala, from the party.

The expulsion of Mr. Pulikkakandam, a staunch critic of the Kerala Congress (M) [KC(M)], also marks the culmination of a long, hostile episode within the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Pala. Announcing his expulsion from the CPI(M)’s primary membership, P.M. Joseph, secretary of the CPI(M) area committee in Pala, attributed the action to “violation of party discipline and an anti-Left approach” by the councillor.

KC(M) denies role

Interestingly, the disciplinary action comes a day after Mr. Pulikkakandam launched a tirade against KC(M) chairman Jose K. Mani for taking the Rajya Sabha seat to parliamentary politics instead of contesting in elections. The KC(M) leadership, however, denied any involvement in the action against Mr. Pulikkakandam.

“We are yet to lodge any complaint with the CPI(M) against these remarks. This action against him pertains to some other issues, and the KC(M) has no role in it,” said a party leader.

In the 26-member municipal council at Pala, the KC(M) has 10 members and the CPI(M) five, including four Independents. The lone remaining member in the LDF belongs to the Communist Party of India (CPI). Although he was the lone councillor to win under the party symbol, Mr. Pulikkakandam was denied the chance to become the first CPI(M) chairman of the Pala municipality in its 75-year-old history due to objections raised by the KC(M).

Ever since its “improbable” win of the Pala Assembly segment in 2019 through Mani C. Kappan, the LDF has always remained aspirational about the Pala region and maintained momentum through systematic grassroots work. Although Mr. Kappan later left the alliance and was re-elected from the seat as a United Democratic Front candidate, the Left coalition consolidated its position in the region by adding the KC(M) to its fold, a move that helped it win a few local bodies, including the Pala municipality, and a few other Assembly seats in the region.

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