All eyes on Vijayan as changes in cabinet & party expected

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All eyes on Vijayan as changes in cabinet & party expected
Thiruvananthapuram: The state secretariat meeting of the CPI-M, scheduled for Friday, is going to be crucial as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will discuss the possible changes to be made in the party and state cabinet.

In the secretariat meeting, it is expected that present state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will be granted leave and in place a ‘caretaker’ secretary will be appointed. Balakrishnan, who recently returned from the US after a complete medical check up, has started treatment here for a critical ailment (though this is still being kept under wraps).

The CPI-M secretariat in its statement issued here on Thursday morning, however, refuted media reports about Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was being replaced.

According to sources, the way the party functions, first Balakrishnan has to apply for a leave which he has not done yet. Sources say things will be clearer in the meeting.

Ahead of the state secretariat meeting, Vijayan held a meeting with the party leaders in the state party office on Thursday.

With Vijayan holding a complete sway over both the government and the party, it is being said that the call will be his.

In Balakrishnan’s absence it was senior leader M. V. Govindan who was responsible for the overall charge of the party centre that functions from the state party headquarters here. But, as per sources, Vijayan wants to hand over the party’s charge to his closest aide E. P. Jayarajan — the State Industries Minister.

Though both Govindan and Jayarajan hail from Kannur, the former had run into trouble early this year after an NRI businessman committed suicide, allegedly fed up with the Anthoor municipality chairperson P. K. Shymala, wife of Govindan, as she took an adamant stand and failed to give a clearance for his state of the art convention centre.

But, Jayarajan enjoys a closer relation with Vijayan, even though he had to quit as Minister in 2017 after news came out that he had appointed his close relatives in key posts. Jayarajan was brought back after he was cleared of the charges.

Another person whose name was doing the rounds was State Minister of Culture and Cinema A. K. Balan. But, Vijayan and Balan do not have the best of relations and, hence, the name of Jayarajan was most likely to be given the nod.

Another reason why Vijayan would wish to handover the party secretary’s ‘charge’ to Jayarajan is, that Jayarajan will be able to bring in changes within the party.

And, if the secretariat gives the nod, then the final decision of making changes would be taken at the state committee meeting of the party to be held here on December 19 and 20.

So now all eyes are on Firday’s meet, the first that Vijayan will be part of after his foreign trip to Japan and South Korea, which ended on Wednesday.

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