There has been a political division within the CPI (M) after the party’s state leadership dropped Assembly Speaker and Ponani MLA P Sreeramakrishnan’s name from the candidature list. The local members of the Ponani division organised a protest march today in support of area committee leader and district member TM Siddique after he was ignored for P Nandakumar to fill the spot at Ponani. Hundreds of people including women participated in the protest chanting slogans against Nandakumar, demanding Siddique’s candidature.
During the early stages of the discussion, the local area members kept recommending Siddique’s name to be added to the fray after Sreeramakrishnan was dropped. This was repeated in the area committee meetings and district meetings. However, the state leadership decided on Nandakumar despite the opposition. While the leadership was aware of the protest from the local leaders, the march has shaken the party to the core. Especially since it happened parallel to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s public programme at Pinarayi.
After Paloli Mohammed Kutty of CPM stepped down, the state leadership had brought Sreeramakrishnan from Perinthalmanna to contest at Ponani. This was despite Siddique’s name being the loudest in the meetings. The local area members are complaining that despite getting another chance after 10 years, the state leadership is dropping a hard-working cadre to field someone who is not from the area.
What is happening in Ponani is not a one-off incident as the same is happening in Kuttiadi as well. The state leadership has decided to give Kuttiadi to Jose K Mani and the Kerala Congress (M). The local leaders had organised a protest while discussions were going on at the Vadakara area committee regarding Kuttiadi. Reportedly, local members published posters against the party decision to pass the seat to Jose Mani, and the CPM cadre declared that their support is to KP Kunhammed Kutty.
They added that the “power-hunger” of a few people led to the defeat in Kuttiadi and if they don’t learn from it then the repercussions will be dangerous for the party. In their protest march today, the organisers proclaimed that the state leadership should listen to the decision of the people and the local cadre. While the number is fewer than the Ponani march, there were still almost a hundred cadre members protesting the decision to hand over the seat to Kerala Congress (M).
Including the PK Jameela incident, there has been a repeat of local public protests within the party against the state leadership in the form of marches and posters.