Two-term bar on contesting applies for me also in next election: Pinarayi

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM has decided not to waver from its decision to limit the number of people’s representatives’ terms to two. Politburo members have remained firm on the commitment despite local-level protests against replacing senior leaders including Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.

Party workers have even called up politburo members to record their protest but the top decision-making body has sent out signals that it would not reconsider the condition.

The party defends its decision by citing the rout in West Bengal, where it has been relegated to a minor player after 30 years of uninterrupted rule. One of the reasons cited for the fiasco is a lack of second-rung leaders in the party. While the senior leaders enjoyed continuous election victories, they could not nurture their successors to lead the party after their retirement.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sought to calm the nerves by insisting that the two-term condition would also apply to him after five years. He had faced questions over the stringent application of the condition in the state committee meeting of the party.

The CPM in Kerala would explain the inevitability of the condition to the lower forums by highlighting the experience of West Bengal. The discontented pressure groups would be faced with a question whether they prefer individual careers to the party’s prospects.

However, the party would find it particularly difficult in Kannur, where it denied a chance to P Jayarajan who would not have been affected by the condition. The party state secretariat is likely to discuss the issue on Monday.

Pinarayi Vijayan had contested the 2016 assembly polls from Dharmadam and won. He was the party secretary from 1998 to 2015 and did not contest in the 2006 as well as 2011 assembly polls.

Though he had been a legislator four time earlier -- thrice from Kuthuparamaba and once from Paayyanur in 1996, the CPM had not insisted on keeping two-time legislators away from electoral fray then.

If Pinarayi wins this time, he would not be able to contest the next assembly polls as this would be his second straight stint as an MLA. Moreover, by the time the assembly polls are held in 2026, he would have crossed 80. VS Achuthanandan became the CM of Kerala when he was 82.

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