CPI(M) mulls bringing in age ceiling in its decision making bodies

81-year-old S. Ramachandran Pillai is the oldest member while the youngest members are 62-year old Mohammed Salim and Nilotpal Basu.

In an effort to bring in fresh faces the CPI (M) is planning to introduce an age ceiling for the members in its decision making bodies from state committees to central committees and eventually Polit Bureau too.

The idea was discussed during the three day central committee (CC) meeting that concluded on October 4. CC’s final report will be sent to the state committees to deliberate further and come up with a concrete proposal on the issue among other things.

According to sources, during the debate on the issue, many members suggested a two-way age ceiling. One, that there should be a retirement age for members in all it’s bodies including the Polit Bureau and second that no new member above a certain age should be inducted in any of these forums.

“This is the only way that the average age can be brought down. We also have to figure out a way to put to use the vast experience many of our senior members hold. We are looking at the international models followed by other communist parties,” a top leader of the party said.

Polit Bureau age limit

In the Polit Bureau current age limit is 80-years but it has not been adhered to. 81-year-old S. Ramachandran Pillai is the oldest member while the youngest members are 62-year old Mohammed Salim and Nilotpal Basu. Mr. Basu along with 68-year-old Tapan Sen were admitted to the Polit Bureau only last year.

The last influx of young leaders to Central Committee was done in 1985 when current General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and former General Secretary Prakash Karat were inducted both in their thirties then. No similar effort at that scale has been made since then.

The primary agenda of the central committee meeting was to review the implementations of the measures suggested during the 2015 party plenum held in Kolkata. Among many measures the plenum had proposed that the party needs to improve its age composition by ensuring thaat at least 20 per cent of its total membership should be in the age bracket of below 31-years. This four-year-old decision had no visible impact on the party.

The last organisational report tabled during April 2018 party Congress held in Hyderabad noted that, "There is no improvement in the age composition of the party membership in many states. In fact, there is a decline in those below 31 years in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Odisha between 2015-2017.” Kerala is the only state to register a marginal increase in percentage of youth among its ranks.

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