TAMIL NADU

CPI(M) for continuity of leadership in Kannur

IRITTY, DEC. 30. Proving all speculations about his willingness for `voluntary' retirement from active politics utterly wrong, Mr. E.P. Jayarajan was unanimously re-elected secretary of the district CPI(M) at the end of the three-day district conference here today. The conference also unanimously endorsed the official panel of the 45-member district committee comprising nearly all the members of the outgoing committee.

But for the demotion of the Kannur MP, Mr. A.P. Abdullakutty, from an area committee to a local committee, the CPI(M)'s elaborate exercise of holding party conferences in the district from party branches to the district level gave little chance for any speculation about rifts and divisions in the district party establishment. The unanimous re-election of the 51-year-old CPI(M) leader for the third term this time and the earlier approval of the official panel marked the culmination of the party district conference without any upsets and undercurrents.

The 45-member expanded district committee included Mr. T. Govindan, MP, Mr. M.V. Govindan, Mr. T.K. Balan, Mr. M.V. Jayarajan, Mr. P. Jayarajan, all MLAs, Mr. P. Sasi, Ms. K.K. Shylaja, Mr. I.V. Das, Mr. K.P. Sahadevan, Mr. James Mathew and Mr. C. Krishnan. Among the four members in the outgoing committee excluded in the official panel was Ms. P.K. Sreemathi. A Central committee member, she could not be a member in both the district and Central committees. The other three members were not included in the new panel citing health grounds. The new faces in the district committee are Mr. E. Naraynan, Mr. Valsan Panoli, Mr. T.I. Madhusoodhanan, Mr. P.P. Usman, Ms. M. Jayalakshmi, Ms. M.A. Sarala and Mr. Karayi Rajan.

The district conference betrayed no sign of any fissures or disturbances among the delegates from 14 area committees. The speculations about a possible change of guard in the district unit of the party in the event of Mr. Jayarajan opting out of the `race' on health grounds was also proved far-fetched. An amiable man with three-decades of experience in district politics, Mr. Jayarajan is seen as an acceptable figure in the party. The discussion on the performance report presented by Mr. E.P. Jayarajan, on the first day of the party meet on December 28 could be completed ahead of the scheduled time and the process of electing the new committee and the secretary was completed by 1-30 p.m. today. Mr. Jayarajan and the State secretary of the party, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan, spoke at the end of the discussion on the performance report. The report was also unanimously approved. The party leaders, Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Mr. P. Karunakaran, spoke to felicitate the new committee. The conference also selected 50 party workers as delegates to the party State conference scheduled to be held at Kannur in February.

Later briefing reporters, Mr. Jayarajan said that the party's district conference had decided to organise agitation programmes to strengthen the mass base of the party. The party leadership in the district would continue its efforts to maintain peace in the politically volatile areas in the district, he said. The party membership in the district recorded an increase of 5,600 new members over the past three years, he said adding that the party at present had 32,383 members in the district. The party's class and mass organisations also recorded remarkable growth over the period, he said.

Though the district conference of the party set great store by continuity of leadership, there were some upsets in the local and area committees. Youth secured prominence in many of the local and area committees. The elected secretaries of the area committees of Edakkad, Mayyil, Mattannur, Panur and Iritty as well as the newly formed Alakkode area committee, are all young leaders. However, the internal differences that surfaced during party conferences in many of the 2,300-odd branches, 148 local committees and 14 area committees were not part of any self-evident factional show in the party, but signs of unease against the local-level party leaderships and their actions. There were instances in which candidates outside the official panels in some local and area committees were elected.

The district conference concluded with a volunteer march and rally here in the evening. The rally was addressed by the party politburo member, Mr. E.K. Nayanar, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan and Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

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