MV Govindan to replace Kodiyeri as CPM State Secretary

Thiruvananthapuram: CPM Central Committee member and Local Self-Government Minister MV Govindan will replace Kodiyeri Balakrishnan as the new party state secretary. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday stepped down from the role due to his health situation.

The CPM, in a brief official statement issued after the State Committee meeting on Sunday, confirmed MV Govindan’s elevation to the post of the CPM state secretary.

“Since Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is unable to carry out his responsibilities as the CPM state secretary, the State Committee meeting held today elected MV Govindan as the party’s state secretary,” a press communique issued by the CPM said.

The meeting chaired by LDF convenor EP Jayarajan was attended by CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other Politburo members Prakash Karat, MA Baby and A Vijayaragavan.

After the elevation, it is inevitable that Govindan has to step down from the cabinet. He holds crucial portfolios like local self government’s and excise. At this stage, it is not clear who will replace Govindan in the Cabinet. It now looks that an urgent cabinet reshuffle is on the cards.

Cabinet reshuffle was also the first question posed to the new state secretary. “This will be decided only later,” MV Govindan said in his first response to the media after getting elected as state secretary. He briefly interacted with the media as he returned after meeting his predecessor Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

With Govindan’s imminent exit, there will be two vacancies in the Cabinet. Earlier, Saji Cherian had to resign following what has been termed his remarks against the Constitution.

The party could either go for a decisive Cabinet overhaul or there could be just two new appointees. The first option looks likely as the performance of the second Pinarayi ministry had come under severe criticism at the State Committee meeting held two weeks ago.

His own master
Though from Kannur and considered the second-in-command in the Second Pinarayi Vijayan ministry, Govindan is not seen as a Pinarayi acolyte like EP Jayarajan or even Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Govindan is his own master.

He occupies a rare patch of real estate within the CPM territory that is equidistant from groups.

Even at the peak of the Pinarayi-Achuthanandan fratricide, Govindan remained non-aligned. Even in this ‘post-dissent’ phase of the party, Govindan has not bothered to be seen as Pinarayi’s man.

Nor is he in any way aligned with the P Jayarajan-K K Shylaja axis that many CPM insiders feel is fast emerging as a formidable group within the Kannur CPM.
An insider said it was this fiercely independent streak that made general secretary Sitaram Yechury insist on Govindan as Kodiyeri’s replacement. The general feeling is that Govindan could make the party’s voice heard. “For the last many years, there was no party. Only the government mattered. The party had failed to strongly voice its stand on major issues, be it the Governor’s highhandedness or Swapna Suresh’s lies,” a top CPM leader said. “I hope the party will shed its long years of silence and regain the upper hand. Among the senior crop of leaders, only Govindan has the stature to make this happen,” the CPM insider said.
However, critics say Govindan has a ruthless side to him. This was revealed, though indirectly, when an expatriate businessman Sajen Parayil killed himself in 2019 after he allegedly became the victim of the vengeful attitude of Anthoor Municipality chairperson PK Syamala, Govindan’s wife.

It was said that Syamala was furious that Sajen had sought the help of P Jayarajan to secure the necessary permissions for a convention center he had constructed at Anthoor. Neither Syamala nor Govindan had expressed any regret for the incident.

From a physical education teacher to CPM’s State Secretary

Govindan, 69, currently represents the Thaliparamba constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

Govindan posted his third win to the Assembly from Thaliparamba in Kannur district by a margin of 22,689 votes in the last state poll.

A CPM central committee and state committee member, he had earlier held the post of secretary of the party district committees in Kannur, Thrissur and Ernakulam. He had also edited party mouthpiece ‘Desabhimani’.

Govindan, a native of Morazha in Kannur, was born on April 23, 1953.

He is one of the founding members of the CPM’s youth wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India. He was also the president and secretary of the Kannur district unit of the Kerala Socialist Youth Federation.

Govindan, who had been a physical education teacher of the Upper Primary School, Irinavu, took voluntary retirement to become active in politics.

He was imprisoned during the Emergency.

He reached the state Assembly from Thaliparamba in 1996 and 2001. He has been the vice president of the All-India Agriculture Workers’ Union and State president of the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union.

Govindan’s wife PK Shyamala is a member of CPM’s Kannur district committee. She was earlier the chairperson of Anthoor Municipality.

Shyamjith and Ranjeeth are their children.


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