Kerala CM Vijayan gives Sonia-convened meeting of Opposition CMs a miss
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday gave the meeting of Opposition CMs convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi a miss as both Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Kerala Congress leaders were against his participation, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
According to two top-ranking leaders of the Congress and the CPI(M), an aide of Gandhi called upon CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury seeking Vijayan’s participation in the meeting.
Yechury wanted that the meeting be headed by a chief minister instead of the Congress president to avoid political overtones. However, “ the Congress wanted to utilise the meeting to project and further consolidate Gandhi’s pivotal position in the Opposition space after that intense internal tussle inside the Congress,” said a senior leader alluding to the recent Congress Working Committee meeting that was held against the backdrop of 23 Congress leaders writing to Gandhi seeking organisational changes.
The CPI(M) general secretary also told Gandhi’s aide to check with leaders of Congress’s Kerala unit if they were ready to accept the participation of Vijayan, who is heading the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the southern state, in the meeting, the leader quoted earlier said.
After a few minutes, the Congress emissary called back Yechury to inform that Kerala Congress leaders were opposed to Vijayan’s participation, the leader said.
Another leader pointed out that the Kerala is going to poll next year and state Congress leaders don’t want the party to provide any coveted platform to Vijayan.
Both sides, however, maintained that both the Left and Congress would be part of Opposition’s plans to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre in the upcoming monsoon session.