Ongoing CPM conferences likely reason why govt doesn't bar political gatherings now

Thiruvananthapuram: At a time when more number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus are reported in Kerala, there is no restriction on the number of people attending political programmes even though the number of those attending marriages and death-related functions is strictly limited to 50.

It is alleged that no such restrictions are placed on crowded political programmes by the State Government ostensibly due to the ongoing district conferences and the upcoming State Conference and Party Congress of the top ruling party, the CPM.

Almost six CPM district conferences, to be attended by a minimum of 300 delegates in each place, will have to be completed this month. 

It was at the last COVID-19 review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that a decision was taken to limit the number of people attending marriages and death-related functions. It was also suggested at the meeting that the political programmes be conducted online. Political programmes were allowed offline only in emergency situations, that too with strict social distancing.

But the CPM did not decide to hold district conferences online. The public meetings to be held as part of the conferences were not dropped. The party decided only to reduce the number of delegates and maintain social distancing at the conferences.

It is true that the number of delegates at the conferences has been reduced. But the fact is that the number of delegates attending district conferences goes six times higher than those attending marriage and death-related functions. Moreover, such conferences are held as close door sessions at auditoriums.

The district conferences in Kasargod, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram have not yet begun. The district conference, which began in Kozhikode on Monday, is attended by almost 250 delegates, including party district committee members. Apart from these delegates, the State committee members from the district and the State secretariat members in-charge of the conference are attending the session. A number of red volunteers are also posted at the venue. A public meet has been planned at the Kozhikode beach on Wednesday, marking the culmination of the conference.

As many as 198 delegates are expected to attend the CPM district conference in Thiruvananthapuram to be held from January 14.

More than double the number of a single district conference is going to attend the party State conference to be held in Kochi in the first week of March. During the last State conference, there were 582 delegates.

The CPM Party Congress, the national meet, will be held this time in Kannur from April 6 to 10.

So, expect serious enforcement of strict curbs on crowded political programmes in Kerala only after the second week of April.

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