For the fourth time in a row, Kerala unit of Communist Party of India (CPI) has elected Veliyam Bharghavan as its state secretary. Although the 80-year old Bharghavan pleaded for infusing new blood into the top rung of the party, his comrades would hear nothing of it.
The party decision at the state meet at Thrissur was unanimous, sources said. Although the names of CPI MPs CK Chandrappan and Ismail were doing the rounds, the conference decided that none but the veteran freedom-fighter would be able to steer the party without the threats of factionism that affected its left sibling CPI(M) Kerala unit. CPI general secretary AB Bardhan, who attended the first leg of the conference, is said to have pipped for Bharghavan.
After the split in Communist Party of India in 1964, Bharghavan moved closer to the Ajoy Bhavan. He was four times assistant secretary of State unit of CPI, before establishing himself undisputably as Kerala Bardhan. He has been the party's national council member from 1971.
Once a Sanskrit enthusiast and Upanishat interpretor, with a fascinating stint in sanyasa, Bhargavan later became known for another kind of fervent renunciation during his communist trajectory. His comrades in CPI vouch for him as a rare breed of leadership who consistently shunned seats of power in Parliament or Assembly. Nevertheless, there are few voices in the State as his, ever ready to marshal strong words against not just the Opposition, but even his party's bossing partners within the ruling LDF (Left Democratic Front).
Unlike his CPI(M) contemporary VS Achuthanandan, the CPI stalwart's charm lies in his organisation skills. At a point when Left parties are on a countrywide campaign to cobble up a third alternative, the reassurance of faith in Bharghavan, a fiery champion of CPI-CPI(M) merger postulate, is of some political significance.