The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) begins a crucial three-day meet on Sunday to decide important matters, including the fate of two prominent Kerala leaders Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who were suspended from the politburo.
The CPI-M central committee, which has the power to overrule the politburo, will decide whether the Kerala leaders, who were suspended from the politburo last month for their public spat, should be taken back to the apex body.
The central committee will meet on Sunday evening after the politburo meeting in the morning. It is also expected to discuss the presidential poll, vice presidential election and other political matters.
While Chief Minister Achuthanandan will participate in the meeting only on Tuesday, Vijayan is likely to be here by Sunday evening. Sunday morning's meet will be the first formal politburo meeting without the two Kerala communist veterans.
The decision to suspend Achuthanandan and Vijayan was taken on May 26 in a desperate bid to rein in the two top Kerala leaders who had openly denounced each other, embarrassing the party that prides itself on discipline.
The central committee's decision will be significant for both Achuthanandan and Vijayan as it could lead to a change of guard in the state. Both were asked to continue in their respective posts despite the suspension.
The three-day meeting is also likely to discuss the vice presidential election, which is to take place before August 19, when Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's term ends.
Sources in the Left parties have indicated that the CPI-M is keen to have the post of vice president, who will also be the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. According to CPI-M sources, the party wants Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to be nominated as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The UPA-Left and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) combine have fielded senior Congress leader Pratibha Patil in the race for the presidential post. With the combine holding majority in the electoral college that elects the president, Patil is seen as a sure winner to the highest constitutional post.