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22 Aug 2019, Edition - 1500, Thursday

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India News

Kerala CPI faces revolt as cadre up in arms against ‘soft’ leadership

Jayashankar

Kochi: The CPI has a big place in history having formed one of the world’s earliest elected communist governments, coming to power in Kerala in 1957.

It lost its prominence over the years to its breakaway unit CPM due to various factors, including absence of a strong leadership, despite an array of leaders with it during the 1964 split when the cadre went with the CPM, and also lack of discipline

The party is now facing threat from a section within as some leaders are up in arms against party state chief Kanam Rajendran for going soft on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the lathicharge on CPI leaders in Kochi, breaking the arm of Eldo Abraham, MLA, a few days back.

Posters appeared against Kanam in some places in Alappuzha seeking his removal from the top post.

Three youth leaders of the party were booked by the police for pasting posters. They were also suspended by the party.

Majority of the party leaders and workers in Ernakulam are upset with Kanam who instead of blasting the police blamed the protestors for taking up the march by giving short notice to police.

The situation worsened when the government instead of acting against the police directed the Ernakulam District Collector to submit a report on it.

Eldo Abraham and Ernakulam district unit secretary P Raju have openly criticised the government and indirectly chided the CPI leadership.

The issue started after police personnel beat up CPI leaders when they were taking out a march to the DIG’s office in Kochi seeking action against an Inspector who did not protect Raju when he was waylaid by SFI activists a few days earlier.

In the past too, there have differences among top CPI leaders. But this is the first time that the party cadre has come in the open against its state chief.

The coming days are going to be tough for the party as Kanam appears to be in no mood to relent. Credited with giving the country its first non-Congress government, CPI is facing revolt.

Formed in 1920 at Tashkent, the party witnessed its first rivalry between the early leaders and thick friends MN Roy and Abani Mukherji who was later expelled for a trivial reason.

Since then the CPI had endured a series of bickerings which reached its crescendo when a section of leaders including EMS Namboodiripad broke away from the party to form the CPM during its seventh party congress in Calcutta from October 31 to November 7, 1964. C Achutha Menon and P K Vasudevan Nair of CPI became Chief Ministers on various occasions in Kerala. Later, the party lost its popularity to CPM which had formed a series of governments after that.

Former party chief Sudhakar Reddy told The Covai Post from Hyderabad that a protest against state secretary by a district unit could not be seen as a major problem.

The wrath of local leaders against what they feel as party leadership going soft on police would not impact the ties between the CPM and CPI, he added.

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