The CPI(M) Kerala unit has pushed veteran VS Achuthanandan, 92, out of the central committee but it suffered a jolt when its plan to elevate senior leader Ramachandran Pillai to the top post fell flat.
The only survivor among 32 leaders who walked out of the CPI national executive in 1964 to form a new party, VS is at a crossroad. Though he was made a special invitee in central committee (CC) it is considered an ornamental post. The Kerala unit led by former state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan was out to humiliate him.
There are reports that Yechury and Pinarayi had a heated exchange over this at the CC meet. Many leaders from the state wanted strict action against VS citing indiscipline including his walkout from the state committee meet two months ago. But the party declined to turn against one of its most popular face in Kerala.
“It is nothing unusual. Though I am healthy age is a criteria in holding such positions,” VS said. while coming out of the CC venue in Visakhapatnam.
The party had set an age bar of 80 for important positions, but in the case of VS it was waived on two occasions.
Though many leaders wanted to waive it again for VS considering his stature, the Kerala unit effectively blocked it.
Sensing a contest-like situation for the top post VS congratulated Yechury a day before the CC concluded, raising many eyebrows. An upset Pillai had to remind VS that such a ‘wishing was not a tradition’ of communists.
“In fact Kerala delegates were not against Yechury but his proximity to VS turned him against them,” a senior leader said.