Unease in CPI over age bar for party posts, state council members term it anti-communist

Kanam Rajendran
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran

Thiruvananthapuram: The meeting of the Kerala State Council of the Communist Party of India, which was held here on Tuesday, witnessed sharp criticism over the move to bring strict age restrictions at the organisational-level. Many questioned the national leadership for taking a hard stance on the issue.

CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran, while justifying the move, said that the State leadership was following the guidelines issued by the party national council.

Kanam reminded the leaders that only if the party replicated at the organisation level the kind of changes it had experimented at the parliamentary level, the party would have a future existence in the State.

But the reply of Kanam did not pacify the Council members. Many termed the new guidelines as something that went against the party constitution. They said that what is needed first is the amendment of the party constitution.

As per the guidelines, the age criteria for party posts will be strictly implemented from the party mandalam conferences to be begun soon. The branch and local conferences of the party have been almost completed.

Some of the leaders at the meeting alleged that age criteria was brought by the national leadership with the aim of deviating attention from its efficiency in interfering effectively in the national politics and ensuring the further growth of the party at the State-level.

What the guidelines state

As per the new guidelines, 50 percent of those who get elected to each party forum should be below 40 years of age.

The Council members said that such restrictions were anti-Communist in approach. They pointed out that the situation in Kerala was quite different from North Indian States.

Sunil Kumar-Kanam faceoff

Former Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar opposed the move, terming it inappropriate. At this point, Kanam retorted that Sunil Kumar should introspect how he became an MLA and a minister.

Sunil Kumar was able to contest polls due to the party's decision that those who fought elections many times should keep away from the fray. Later he became a minister as a result of the party's decision to try young faces as ministers. Only if new blood is infused, the party will have a future. The new guidelines were unanimously passed by the national council of the party, Kanam pointed out.

Kanam detractors may have to exit

If the new guidelines are implemented, senior leaders and former Ministers KE Ismail and C Divakaran, the known Kanam detractors in the party, will not be able to find a place in CPI State executive committee.

Moreover, seven party district secretaries will have to step down. CPI assistant secretaries K Prakash Babu and Sathyan Mokeri will also have to relinquish their posts.

CPI: NEW AGE LIMITS

National Council: 75

State Council: 75

State Assistant Secretaries: One person below 65, another person below 50

District, mandalam secretaries: 65

District Assistant Secretaries: One below 60, another below 40

Committee members: Up to the age of 75 years, a person can continue as a member of a party committee. But when new committees come into existence from mandalam to State-level, half of the members in each unit should be below 40 years of age.

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