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Congress favours aged leaders for Rajya Sabha from Kerala

March28/ 2015

Thiruvananthapuram, March 28: The Congress has chosen to support candidates who are over 70 years for the Rajya Sabha elections from Kerala, a move which as left younger party workers unhappy, whereas the CPI-M has supported young blood.

For next month’s polls to the upper house, the Congress has persisted with older leaders as Vayalar Ravi. The CPI-M has gone in for youth and has chosen 44 year-old former Students Federation of India (SFI) president K.K. Ragesh.

Kerala has nine seats in the upper house. The Congress has three – all in the above 70 plus category. A.K. Antony will be 75 in December, Ravi will be 78 in June and P.J. Kurien will turn 74 on Monday.

The CPI-M has four members in the house. P. Rajeev, whose terms ends next month is 47 years old, K.N. Balagopal and T.N. Seema whose terms end next year are 51. The only exception is C.P. Nair who is 78.

Nair was nominated in 2012 taking into account his more than five decades of association with the think tank of the party.

“Congress should learn from the CPI-M the way we groom youngsters for the world of parliamentary politics. They (the Congress) ensures that even when fielding a young leader, they are ejected after two terms.

“But in our party, the buzz word is once you enter the upper house, they do all sorts of things to ensure they have a very long run,” said an agitated youth leader of the Congress who did not wish to be identified.

In retrospect, now CPI-M politburo member M.A. Baby, a legislator and a former state minister, created history in 1986 when at the age of 32 he became the youngest member of the upper house then and retired from the upper house after two terms.

A. Vijayaraghavan was 42 when he had one term when in upper house in 1998.

While the CPI-M ensures that upper house members are not given a long run, Congress leader Antony has been in the upper house from 2005 and has had two terms in the past from 1985.

Ravi has been in the upper house from 2003 and had another term in 1994, while Kurien started off in the Lok Sabha from 1980 and had six terms. Since 2005, he has been in the upper house.

Outgoing upper house CPI-M member Rajeev told IANS that their party has always had a strategy of promoting youth and women leaders.

“Just look at our higher committees. The average age of our state committee is now below 60 age group and our district committees it is below 50,” said Rajeev who in February was elected unopposed as the new Ernakulam district secretary of the CPI-M.

“No wonder that the Congress party has touched 44 seats in the Lok Sabha. If the posts are for senior leaders only, it wouldn’t be long that the party would slowly disintegrate because what’s there for the ordinary Congress worker,” asked another disgruntled youth Congress activist.

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