No disciplinary action against Josephine. CPM satisfied with 'regret' and resignation

M C Josephine after submitting her resignation.

CPM central committee member M C Josephine resigned as Women's Commission chairperson but CPM acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan stopped short of saying that the party had forced her to resign.

After the State Secretariat meeting of the party on Friday, which was attended by Josephine, Vijayaraghavan said Josephine had narrated the events that took place and also expressed regret at what had happened. "Then she expressed her willingness to resign the post of the Women's Commission chairperson. This was accepted by the party," Vijayaraghavan said.

This set off questions about the party's stand on the issue. Would the party have asked Josephine to step down even if she had not expressed her willingness? Vijayaraghavan adamantly refused to answer these queries. “The CPM's stand on the issue is clear from what I have said,” he said.

However, there were reports that the party was miffed that Josephine had carried on with her commanding ways even after the party had asked her to temper her style. For instance, early this year, Josephine was warned after it came to light that she had angrily asked a weak 89-year-old woman, a victim of physical assault, to appear in person.

The acting state secretary was mild on Josephine in public but CPM sources said that there was strident criticism of Josephine's attitude inside the State Secretariat on Friday.

CPM acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan

Nonetheless, while talking to the media, Vijayaraghavan suggested that the Josephine issue should be considered settled after she herself had admitted to her mistakes. This was also a clear hint that the party has no desire to take any further action against Josephine, a central committee member of the party.

Josephine's exit had also become inevitable as the CPM is about to launch a massive awareness campaign, 'Sthreepaksha Kerala' (Women-friendly Kerala), against the anti-women practices in Kerala from July 1. The campaign is a response to the recent incidents of dowry-related deaths in Kerala.

Josephine's continuance as Women's Commission chairperson after the intimidating manner in which she talked to a victim of domestic violence would have undermined the campaign.

The 'Sthreepaksha Kerala' campaign involves house visits by CPM party cadres and members at the local level. "Our cadres will interact with family members and instill in them the need to root out misogynist attitudes like dowry," Vijayaraghavan said.

The one-week campaign will then crescendo in a massive statewide programme against anti-women tendencies. The nature of such a statewide campaign was not spelled out by Vijayaraghavan.

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