KERALA

CPI(M) cadres happy with Pinarayi's re-election

KANNUR, FEB. 23. Leaders and cadres of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the district may not say it openly that they are jubilant over the re-election of Pinarayi Vijayan as State secretary of the party and his emerging stronger after its State conference in Malappuram. But they privately express relief over this development, which has come after months of `inner-party struggles' that assumed the character of an all-out factional battle.

Kannur being the political base of Mr. Vijayan, who hails from Pinarayi which includes Parapram where the Communist Party of India Kerala unit was formed at a meeting in 1939, the cadres here are happy that the CPI(M) has emerged `united.'

"Party cadres everywhere in the State are jubilant because the conference has adopted a politically and organisationally correct stand in the ideological struggle within the State unit of the party,'' says P. Jayarajan, a prominent CPI(M) leader in the district. It is the victory of a stand that upheld organisational principles rather than those of an individual, he adds.

The party leaders and cadres also seek to project the idea that the party conference has proved media predictions wrong. There are many leaders who believe that party workers in the district played a key role in ensuring the `victory' of what they believe as the correct party stand at the conference.

Pragmatist

Mr. Vijayan, who entered the Communist movement through student politics, is seen as a pragmatist in politics. He was actively involved in activities of the Kerala Students' Federation (predecessor of the Students Federation of India) when he was a pre-university student at Brennen College, Thalassery, where he completed his BA in Economics.

In 1998, when he was first appointed State secretary following the death of Chadayan Govindan, who was occupying the post, the jubilation among the party cadres here was mixed with a sense of despondency as the late O. Bharathan, a senior leader, was facing disciplinary action.

Party workers and leaders in the district view Mr. Vijayan as a leader with proven organisational skills.

The 61-year-old leader, born in a poor family (his father was a farmhand-cum-toddy tapper), is seen as soft-spoken but shrewd. He proved his administrative skills when he was the Minister for Electricity during the previous Left Democratic Front Ministry for two years till he resigned to become secretary.

Mr. Vijayan became a prominent leader of the party in 1971 when he, as MLA from Koothuparamba, visited every nook and cranny of the communal riot-hit Thalassery and nearby areas to appeal for calm. He had undergone police torture during Emergency.

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