A crucial five-day meeting of the CPI (M)'s Kerala leadership began in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday to discuss the internal issues affecting the party, including the flare-up in the feud between senior leader V S Achuthanandan and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
The party General Secretary Prakash Karat and four other Polit Bureau members attended the sessions as decided by the CPI (M) Central Committee which took a serious note of the convulsions in the state unit.
According to party sources, the state secretariat would meet the first two days to structure the agenda and course of discussions for the three-day state committee session to he held subsequently.
The party has come under a shadow following the brutal murder of Marxist rebel and RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan at Onjiyam in Kozhikode district last month, though the party had repeatedly asserted that it had nothing to do with the dastardly act.
However, putting the party leadership on the defensive, several CPI (M) activists had been arrested in connection with the case besides six members of hit-squad.
The long-running battle between Achuthanandan and Vijayan has taken a critical turn following the murder with the former openly stating that the leadership under Vijayan should have sought to bring back dissidents like Chandrasekharan instead of running them down by dubbing them "betrayers and renegades".
Achuthanandan had also written to the Polit Bureau seeking changes in the state leadership.
Vijayan and his supporters, known in local political parlance as "official leadership", wanted the party centre to take a serious note of Achuthanandan's aggressive posturing which they see as naked violation of the organisational norms and discipline.
The Central Committee, however, has refused to rush to any conclusion but wanted the whole gamut of issues to be discussed in the state in the presence of the Polit Bureau observers.
Another issue to come up in the meet would be the glaring defeat of the party in the Neyyattinkara Assembly by-poll.
Leaders loyal to Vijayan are of the view that critical comments made by Achuthanandan on the state party affairs has contributed to the LDF's by-poll defeat.
Seeking to turn the table on his rivals, Achuthanandan has blamed that the controversial speech of Idukki leader M M Mani that the party had eliminated political foes in the past as a key factor for the LDF's defeat.
Though Mani has been removed as the CPI (M)'s Idukki district secretary, the state committee is expected to consider further action against him as large sections think that his speech has dealt a serious blow to the party's image as a responsible party functioning in a civilised and democratic system.
According to observers, though the discussions at the meeting are certain to generate much heat any harsh action against the key players on the opposite sides are unlikely as the central leadership is keen to avoid precipitating the present crisis.