Thiruvananthapuram: The restructuring of CPM's leadership in Kerala points at an ostensible shift in power equations with the party's recently concluded State Conference witnessing a thaw in the relationship between state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and central committee member E P Jayarajan.
Both the leaders had joined hands to lead the party's 23rd State Conference which concluded in Kochi on March 4. Interestingly, A Vijayaraghavan, who held the charge of the state secretary in Kodiyeri's absence, was not even included in the state secretariat.
Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri had been leading the state conferences till the previous one held in Thrissur. Though Pinarayi, too, was in a leadership role, presenting "CPM's Perspective on New Kerala," a document detailing the party's roadmap for the state, Kodiyeri led the conference, while Jayarajan chaired the presidium.
Vijayaraghan, who had been holding party responsibilities in Delhi, shifted to Kerala as LDF convener after the previous party congress, and hence was not considered to the state secretariat. It was widely felt that Vijayaraghavan will be included in the state secretariat.
Though the party has justified that he could still attend the secretariat meetings since he is a central committee member, the secretariat members form the CPM's State leadership.
Meanwhile, the party dropped Elamaram Kareem and M V Govindan from the secretariat, but did not consider central committee members K K Shailaja and K Radhakrishnan to replace them.
Shailaja and Radhakrishnan may continue as central committee members in party congress. Those dropped will become state committee members.
It may not be mere coincidence that they did not get the expected consideration. Kodiyeri, in his work report, had blamed Shailaja, Kareem, Radhakrishnan and Govindan for avoiding the available secretariat meetings, even if they were in Thiruvananthapuram.
Kodiyeri's relationship with E P Jayarajan turned cold after the latter was forced to resign from the first Pinarayi cabinet. Jayarajan's visits to Thiruvananthapuram had become less frequent after the CPM's two-term norm denied him another outing at the polls. He had even discarded a directive to work from the party centre.
Jayarajan, however, based his party work in Thiruvananthapuram after Pinarayi stepped in and pacified him. The state conference indicated that he will become more active at the party centre.
Eight new faces were inducted into the state secretariat even as the party leadership has been undergoing a change. Three ministers were among the new faces, taking the number of ministers in the secretariat to five. The responsibilities of each Secretariat member will also change with every party conference.
Will Puthalath Dinesan resign from CMO?
Puthalath Dinesan is likely to quit as the political secretary to the chief minister following his inclusion in the state secretariat. Questions have already been raised on who will replace him at the Chief Minister's Office. P Sasi's return to the state committee has brightened his chances to replace Dinesan.
With Dinesan included in the secretariat to focus more on organisational matters, the chances of him continuing as the political secretary is less.
Additionally, the Chief Minister's Office is also trying to find solutions to the criticism against the police force. In this backdrop, it will not be surprising if Pinarayi seeks the services of Sasi, who was the political secretary to E K Nayanar, when he was the chief minister.
There were indications during the first Pinarayi cabinet itself that Sasi would be included in the Chief Minister's Office.
Vijayaraghan to replace SRP in politburo?
CPM is likely to include Vijayaraghavan in the politburo after S Ramachandran Pillai steps down. His inclusion in the politburo may make him shift to Delhi.
In such a scenario, a new person will replace Vijayaraghan as the LDF convener. If he is not keen on a politburo role, the question of who will be included in the central body. It will also have a say on the power equations in the state.