S. Sudhakar Reddy has been re-elected general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) for the third time in a row.
Mr. Reddy was re-elected to the post at the 23rd CPI Party Congress which concluded here on Sunday, deviating from the convention of granting only two consecutive terms to anyone as party general secretary. Significantly, the Party Congress also decided to leave the post of deputy general secretary, hitherto held by veteran trade union leader Gurudas Dasgupta, vacant. Mr. Dasgupta has been made chairman of the Permanent Programme Commission of the party. Former Kerala CPI secretary Pannian Ravindran has vacated his place in the Central secretariat and has been made chairman of the Central Control Commission.
The decision to leave the post of deputy general secretary vacant came belying speculations that the party might pick Central secretariat member D. Raja to the post, or have two deputy general secretaries, with either Shameem Faizee or Amarjeet Kaur as the other nominee. Mr. Reddy said after his re-election that the post of deputy general secretary was optional. The party national council could choose a deputy general secretary when necessary.
Party constitution amended
The Party Congress amended the party constitution to raise the strength of its Central secretariat from 9 to 11, four of them new faces. From Kerala, CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran and State secretariat member Binoy Viswam have been inducted into the Central secretariat. The other new faces as B.K. Kango (Maharashtra) and Pallab Sen Gupta (Bengal). There are eight new faces in the reconstituted 31-member national executive committee. The Party Congress also elected a 125-member national council, including former JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
The Party Congress decided to retain former Minister K.E. Ismail in the Central executive committee, despite his being out of favour with the State leadership.
Sources said the State leadership did not seek his removal so as not to fuel factionalism in the party and considering his stature as a leader from a minority community. However, former Minister C. Divakaran could not retain his position in the national council.