After new team, new CM faces for CPI(M) in Kerala, Bengal

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2015 18:21 IST

The new-look CPI(M )is set to find two new faces as its chief ministerial candidates for the next year’s assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.

Top sources in the country’s largest communist party told HT that the two popular leaders, VS Achuthanandan and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of Kerala and West Bengal, respectively, are unlikely to be projected again as CM faces.

Although the CPI(M) never projects any official CM-candidate in the run-up to the poll, it will, however, pick two new leaders in each state to spearhead its campaign.

Bhattacharjee, 71, has health-related issues and Achuthanandan, the immensely popular “Mr. Clean” of Kerala CPI(M) will be 92 at the time the party faces the next assembly elections in Kerala. The two states are due to go for state elections simultaneously in April-May 2016.

In April this year, the party elected the flamboyant Sitaram Yechury as its new general secretary in a rejig of its top brass.

Both states are crucial for the party as well as for the larger interest of the Left. Even as snatching victory in a three-corner contest in Bengal against Trinamool and BJP looks a daunting challenge, a win in Kerala can bolster the Left’s relevance not just in the state but in the national political scenario as well.

“It is too early to predict who can be the face of our campaign. But yes, we have to look at new faces,” said a senior leader.

Both Achuthanandan and Bhattacharjee are no longer regular members of party’s Central Committee and Politburo.

Party insiders suggest that picking a possible CM candidate will be a relatively easier task in West Bengal where the party had to bite the dust in 2011, after a 34-year record term.

But in the faction-ridden Kerala unit, the party may need more negotiations to pick its right face. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and MA Baby are seen as possible choices in the state, where the party is better-placed to win the polls.

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