Suresh had a fallout with the party after he formed the Vayalkkilikal group in 2016 to protest filling up of paddy fields for NH construction through Keezhattur.

Why a former Kerala CPI M leader is taking on the party from its bastion of KannurImage Courtesy: DoolNews.Com
news #ElectionswithTNM Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 15:49

Back in 2016, Suresh Keezhattur dared to do what was unusual. An active leader of the CPI (M) once, he along with several other former party sympathisers or workers formed Vayalkkilikal (paddy birds) protest group, challenging the party in one of its strongest bases at Keezhattur, near Taliparamba, in Kannur. 

Suresh has now decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Kannur constituency- the CPI (M)’s fortress. The reason he says is to make environmental issues a topic of discussion in a people’s process like election. He will be contesting as an independent candidate without the backing of any political party.

The group was formed in January 2016 to protest against the filling up of paddy fields for construction of national highways (NH) through Keezhattur, and he continues to play an active role in leading the group. 

“I have the support of ‘Vayalkkilikal’, that of all the people of Keezhattur, that of the Aikydhartya Samithi (Solidarity Committee), CPI (ML) Red Flag and Aam Aadmi Party. The mainstream political parties won’t discuss environmental issues, but they would discuss topics of their interest instead. We, Vayalkkilikal, thought that environmental issues should be discussed in the elections especially during this period post floods. That should be brought into focus and debated in a people’s process like election,” Suresh tells TNM.

He says, it is not about winning or losing but about how to use election for a debate on environment. The 49-year old was Keezhattur Branch Committee Secretary of the CPI (M) for years. He had been an active leader of the CPI (M) youth wing –the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) too. The differences with the party began after it took a stand that was favourable for the NH construction through Keezhattur against which the platform, Vayalkkilikal was formed. Vayalkilikal and the CPI (M) had been on opposing sides over the issue, and the rift widened over the years.

Other members of Vayalkkilikal have been CPI (M) workers and continue with the party. “None of us left the party membership or quit the party, but we went ahead with the opposition. Still, we all believe in Left values.”

The campaign, according to Suresh, will be in the form of conducting seminars or discussions, as he is neither interested in nor capable of doing a campaign that involves large amounts of money.  

The farmers in Keezhattur under Vayalkkilikal have been protesting against the filling up of 250 acres of paddy fields for NH construction.

Also Read: How Keezhattur has exposed CPI (M)’s duplicity in protecting the rights of farmers

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