Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M's powerful State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan will have to step down at the party conference next year as the state committee meeting, that ended here Thursday, decided not to give any extension to any office-bearer who has completed three terms.
Vijayan, who became the secretary in 1998 after quitting as state power minister, has been at the helm of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the state since then.
With the state party committee meeting deciding to stick to the amendment, limiting the term to three years, Vijayan will step down at the upcoming state party conference to be held at Alappuzha in February. The amendment to the party constitution, putting a cap of three terms, was made at the 20th Party Congress held in Kozhikode in 2012.
Though the amendment stated that no person can hold the position of secretary of the state/district/intermediate committee for more than three full terms, a secretary may be re-elected for a fourth term provided it is so decided by the respective committee with a three-fourths majority and with the approval of the state committee.
In the case of state secretary, the election will have to be approved by the party's Central Committee. But in no case can that person be elected again for another term in addition to the fourth term.
A party leader on condition of anonymity told IANS that the meeting that ended here decided to stick to the decision of the party Congress to limit the term to three terms with no exemption to be given to anyone.
Now all eyes are on the upcoming state party conference which will see Vijayan's successor named. In the running are Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, M.A. Baby, M.V. Govindan and A.K. Balan.
Incidentally, it was during the tenure of Vijayan that factionalism peaked as there arose an intense rivalry between him and the then chief minister V.S.Achuthanandan. To cool down things, the national leadership decided to suspend both of them from the politburo in 2007.
While Vijayan later returned to the politburo, Achuthanandan has not.
But with assembly elections in Kerala to be held in April 2016, Vijayan, however, will be there as the party's chief ministerial candidate.