However, analysts say he cannot be compared with Bengal’s ex-CM Jyoti Basu.
New Delhi: As the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) prepares for one of its most important elections, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has emerged as a reliable leader for the party in the state.
With Vijayan’s clout growing in the CPM, comparisons have started on whether the chief minister has become a leader whose stature is equivalent to West Bengal’s former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu.
However, some political analysts have said that he is not comparable to Basu, as the latter was able to lead West Bengal and CPM for almost two decades, and Basu had a wider acceptability in politics and among the general public.
Speaking about the skills which enabled Basu to emerge as a bankable leader within the CPM, N.M. Pearson, a Left thinker and political analyst, told The Sunday Guardian, “He was a strong decision-maker and it helped him to be known as a leader who keeps his words. He takes a decision after analysing several aspects of an issue. And once the decision is taken, he won’t retreat. At a time when leaders are not keeping their words and promises, a leader like him who has strong decision-making skills will be regarded by the people.”
J. Prabhash, a Left critic and political commentator, told The Sunday Guardian, “When there is no internal democracy in a political party, the senior-most party leader becomes the ultimate decision-taker.”
He further added, “Now, the party has denied poll tickets to 28 sitting MLA, five senior ministers, and the Speaker, all of whom have had two consecutive terms in the Assembly. As the new Assembly forms after 2 May, all the legislators will be no match to Vijayan. The CM will be unequal among the equals.”
The party has denied tickets to five current ministers including state finance minister Thomas Isaac, PWD minister G. Sudhakaran, School Education Minister C. Raveendranath, Law and Culture minister A.K. Balan and Industries minister E.P. Jayarajan.
Until Thursday, the CPM has announced 83 candidates out of the 85 seats it will be contesting. In 2016, the party contested 90 seats out of 140 and won 58 seats. It has decreased its number of seats to accommodate new allies Kerala Congress (M) and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
The party has given tickets to 12 women candidates, including health minister K.K. Shailaja. Out of the 83 candidates, 57 are above 50 years and 24 are above 60 years of age.
Prabhash told The Sunday Guardian, “Basu led West Bengal and CPM for more than two decades if not three. Vijayan would not be able to lead the CPM and Kerala for more than 10 years. Moreover, Vijayan is a communist who wants absolute power domination and power in the party. There is no internal democracy in the party.”
Prabhash further added, “As the party has denied poll tickets to five senior ministers, there would be no second rung leader in CPM to lead CPM inside the Assembly. As everyone knows, internal democracy in Congress was finished in 1971 or before that, and within two-three decades, the Congress was completely finished. CPM is a much smaller party compared to Congress. The party has lost its ground in West Bengal and Tripura. The CPM in Kerala may also witness the same fate if they don’t revive internal democracy.”