NEW DELHI: The CPI(M) has decided to bring down the age ceiling for the members of its central committee to 75 from 80 years, a move aimed at infusing fresh blood into the party.
This was decided in a meeting of the central committee, the highest decision-making body of the party which elects the Politburo, held from August 6 to 8.
The decision will have to be endorsed at the party’s 23rd Congress, scheduled to be held in Kerala’s Kannur in April 2022, after which the norm will be applicable.
It was in April 2018 when the last Central Committee was elected at the party’s Congress in Hyderabad when the age-ceiling of 80-years was in place.
An exception was made for S Ramachandran Pillai in 2018 in order to retain him in the Politburo.
In the current 17-member Politburo, Ramachandran is the oldest and while 64-year-old Mohammed Salim and Nilotpal Basu are the youngest.
The age-ceiling formula will be put in place in a two-tier manner.
First, the retirement age will be fixed at 75 years for members in all its bodies, including the Politburo.
Second, no new member above a certain age would be inducted into any of these forums.
“Our decision is that those who have crossed 75 years will be relieved from the central committee. The state committee normally has a lower age ceiling but we have left it for them to decide it,” party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said at a press conference at the conclusion of the Central Committee meeting.
The last young inductees to the central committee were the current General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and former general secretary Prakash Karat who were both in their thirties.
They were inducted in 1985.
No such effort at that scale has been made since then.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan incidentally is already 76-year-old and will need to step down from the Politburo.
“Last time also we made exceptions for certain people. The party will decide for those holding key positions. But in principle, the decision is to fix 75 years as the retirement age,” Yechury said.