The growing demand for re-inducting veteran leader VS Achuthanandan into the politburo is likely to put the CPI(M) central leadership and general secretary Prakash Karat in a difficult situation.
VS, who is also former Kerala chief minister and has been suspended from the politburo on disciplinary grounds, is the state’s only surviving member among the 32 leaders who left the national council of the CPI in 1964 to form the CPI(M) in 1964.
However, the faction led by Kerala CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, VS’s rival who is opposed to his return to the politburo, is too large to be ignored by the central leadership.
Considering that the Kerala unit of the party supports him, Karat may not like to antagonise it, given the fact that his equations with the West Bengal unit are not very smooth either.
However, there are also arguments that the party should be considerate to “an old comrade”.
Almost surviving anti-incumbency, VS had led the Left Democratic Front to near victory in the state in the last assembly elections, securing 68 of the 140 seats.
“He still remains the most popular leader of the party in the state. While popularity cannot be everything, we cannot altogether neglect it as long as we are in electoral politics,” a central leader said.
While on suspension, VS continued to air views that were at variance with the party’s official positions on many issues.
Meanwhile, Surya Kanta Mishra, the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, is likely to be inducted into the politburo.
The same is the case for AK Padmanabhan, president, the Centre for Indian Trade Unions, the party’s labour arm.
Kozhikode, where the party is holding its 20th congress, has a special place in the history of the communist movement in the state. It is the city where the first unit of the undivided communist party was formed in Kerala.