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Kerala CPM Sidelines Kannur Strongman For ‘Promoting Himself Over Party’

P Jayarajan is often seen as an epitome of the CPM muscle in Kannur, and was himself victim of a brutal attack on him allegedly carried out by RSS activists in 1999. His right arm was severed and had to be stitched back.

Anoop Parameshwaran, Achyuth Punnekat

Updated:November 13, 2017, 7:41 PM IST
Kerala CPM Sidelines Kannur Strongman For ‘Promoting Himself Over Party’
Representative image of the CPI(M) logo. (Reuters)

Thiruvananthapuram: Peace may take another baby step in Kannur – the Kerala district that has been witnessing brutal CPM-RSS attacks for five decades now – with the Marxists moving in to sideline their own local strongman over allegations of “promoting himself over the party”.

P Jayarajan, Kannur district secretary of CPM, was reportedly censured at the state committee meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday, and indications are that he would be replaced soon.

Jayarajan is often seen as an epitome of the CPM muscle in Kannur, and was himself victim of a brutal attack on him allegedly carried out by RSS activists in 1999. His right arm was severed and had to be stitched back.

CPM leaders who spoke to News18 on condition of anonymity said the party state leadership decided to bite the bullet and sideline Jayarajan as he was seen to be part of the problem and not the solution to Kannur’s bloody cycle of killings and revenge killings.

Pinarayi Vijayan, state chief minister and tallest leader from Kannur, was personally invested in bringing peace to the district but leaders like Jayarajan who took the fight against RSS personally were obstacles towards any efforts to broker long-lasting piece, a CPM leader said.

Jayarajan’s initiatives to split the Hindutva forces and facilitate the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ of former comrades who had defected to RSS was also seen with suspicion by many local leaders. Lauded initially as a smart political tactic, the strategy backfired after local cadre refused to work together with “RSS returnees”, a few of them implicated in cases pertaining to attacks on CPM men.

On his part, Jayarajan has taken the state committee criticism on his chin, commenting dryly that, “the party which made me has every right to criticise me”. In his Facebook post on the reports of censuring, Jayarajan made no effort to distance from allegations that he encouraged a personality cult around him.

Party state committee reportedly listed several instances of him trying to steal the march from the party. In early 2016 Jayarajan’s fans at Ambadi Mukku in Kannur created quite a stir with posters of Jayarajan, first as the purported Home Minister of Kerala, and later as Krishna driving the chariot of CM Vijayan who was dressed as Arjuna. The choice of a Mahabharata scene for that poster was ironic, considering Jayarajan has been at the forefront of the CPM’s anti-RSS fight in Kannur.

Earlier this year Jayarajan booked by the CBI in the 2014 murder of RSS activist Kathiroor Manoj. Some allege that murder was in retaliation to a 1999 bomb attack by the RSS, in which Jayarajan lost his hand and sustained critical injuries.

Ironically, it was the CPM itself which promoted Jayaran as a living martyr, and that image helped the party in its anti-RSS campaigns. He has used both personal clout and appropriation of Hindu festivals like Sree Krishna Jayanthi, in wooing several BJP cadre to the party fold. His unexpected moves started when he invited OK Vasu, once a firebrand BJP leader to CPM side. Vasu is now a CPM loyalist and party has propped him up as President of the Malabar Devaswom Board. Jayarajan was also instrumental in setting up a yoga camp in Kannur, where hundreds of party workers assembled to learn Yoga under spiritual leader Sri M. It was not in tune with the party line, but the state leadership turned a blind eye due to mass participation. Jayarajan has also been a public advocate of a national level alliance with the Congress, the same line taken by CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury despite reservations of the faction led by CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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