Kerala polls: Prominent CPI(M) leader Jayarajan denied ticket; move triggers revolt among party cadre

Jayarajan is popular among party cadre who consider him as the only man who can take on Sangh Parivar. His clean image has helped him too

CPI(M) leader P Jayarajan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
CPI(M) leaderP Jayarajan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)

Ashlin Mathew

A major protest has broken out in CPI(M) ahead of the Kerala elections after the non-inclusion of state committee member and Kannur party strongman P Jayarajan from the list of Assembly candidates. It has triggered the resignation of Kannur district sports council vice president Dheeraj Kumar, who had earlier worked with Jayarajan.

P Jayarajan’s supporters had expected that he would be fielded as a candidate from Kannur Assembly constituency. CPI(M) had stated that the party would drop those who were elected to the Assembly twice consecutively, but they relaxed the rule for those who contested Lok Sabha polls.

Dheeraj Kumar said that “the criteria should be made mandatory for all”. The party district committee has now expelled Kumar for ‘anti-party activities’.

Kumar’s statements came in the wake of the news that KN Balagopal (Kottarakkara), VN Vasavan (Ettumanoor), P Rajeev (Kalamassery) and MB Rajesh (Thrithala) would be contesting the Assembly polls.

One of Jayarajan’s supporters commented: “Actor Mukesh who has been a part of Badai Bungalow TV show for five years has got a ticket, the daughter-in-law of an old Congress MLA has also been given a ticket. Thottathil Surendran, who planned to join BJP two weeks ago, has been given a ticket, AK Balan’s wife has also got a seat. Indian National League, which does not have more than 100 members in Kerala, has been given four seats, but Jayarajan who sacrificed his life for the party has not been given a seat.”

The comment was targeted towards CM Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also from Kannur. Several party supporters have commented on social media that the party would pay a heavy price for denying Jayarajan a ticket.

Jayarajan has disassociated himself from these comments. He insisted that he had no connection with the Facebook page ‘PJ Army’. He asked party supporters to refrain from campaigning for an Assembly election seat.

Jayarajan is popular among the party cadre with his loyalists having created social media fan pages such as “PJ Army”. To them, he is the only man who can take on Sangh Parivar cadres as he had survived a grievous attack on his life by RSS cadre in 1999. His clean image has helped him too.

Political observers said that Jayarajan’s popularity has grown because he is not involved in scandals and he does not take favours from either the party or the government. He has not promoted his children like other CPI(M) leaders such as the CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

As his popularity grew, the party has attempted to clip his wings. Jayarajan was one of the three leaders who in 2019, who had to resign as the party’s district secretary to contest in the parliamentary elections from Vadakara. But he lost the election to V Muraleedharan of the Congress.

The other two district secretaries — KN Balagopal and V N Vasavan— got back their posts, as they too had lost their elections. But, in Jayarajan’s place, the party brought in Vijayan’s private secretary MV Jayarajan. Now, P Jayarajan has no major post in the party.

In 2001, even though he had won the Assembly elections from Koothuparambu constituency with a margin of 19,000 votes, his election was nullified as he was convicted in a case. But, he contested the bypolls and won. In 2006 elections, he won again from Koothuparambu.

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