'Everyone is a comrade in this party. The party is the captain,' he wrote.

P Jayarajan in white shirt
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Saturday, April 03, 2021 - 19:18

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been referred to as ‘Captain’ many times by the public and party supporters. The current debate surrounding the use of the word 'Captain' started after party leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan while replying to a media query said that party does not call anyone Captain, however if individuals want to use such monikers, they are free to.“Have you heard of any party literature using this term? It just comes from the people. As far as CPI(M) is concerned, everyone is a comrade,” Kodyeri had said.

Later, a Facebook post by CPI(M) leader P Jayarajan on April 3 about the CM being called ‘Captain’ triggered more discussion on the same.

P Jayarajan echoed Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s views on the same. “As Comrade Kodiyeri replied to the question of the media persons, 'everyone is a comrade in this party. The party is the captain,” he wrote.

Referring to LDF’s slogan this election ‘LDF, for Sure’, Jayarajan also added that “It is not an individual, but the party and the Left that gives people this assurance.”

“When people are close to someone, they show affection in many ways. Some people like to write songs, some people like to take photos, some people like to get tattooed. However, communists are not fond of such personal adulation.Therefore, there is no point in the right wing and the media getting upset by the popular support for the Chief Minister,” he wrote.

P Jayarajan's comment has led to many reactions within the LDF and outside.

Kodiyeri and Jayarajan's colleague and LDF Convener Vijayaraghavan had a completely different take. He told the media that calling Pinarayi Vijayan 'captain' was a recognition for his work. He added that people admire the CM and therefore such names were only natural.

LDF ally CPI meanwhile took a safer route. While not rejecting the term, CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran maintained that the CPI does not use the term. "We don't use the term, so don't ask us," he told the media.

He later told Malayala Manorama that neither the CPI(M) nor the CPI address the CM as captain, instead they call him comrade. "The achievements are of a coalition government's not of an individual's. Pinarayi is the captain of the ship," he said.

The Congress meanwhile used to opportunity to hit out at Pinarayi Vijayan. Congress leader G Sudhakaran said that P Jayarajan had been sidelined by Pinarayi and his reaction was natural. Sudhakaran alleged that CPI(M) brought in the rule that MLAs who won two consecutive terms cannot contest again to ensure Jayarajan does not contest.

Jayarajan, a CPI(M) strongman from Kannur had won from the Koothuparamba constituency in 2006 and 2011. In 2019 he lost from Vadakara Lok Sabha seat to Congress's V Muraleedharan. Though he was expected to contest from Kannur for the assembly elections, he was not given a ticket which had lead to a few protests from his supporters.

The Chief Minister meanwhile said there is nothing much to discuss and left it at that.

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