Tripura Assembly poll verdict jolts Kerala CPM

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KOCHI: The devastating defeat that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) suffered in Tripura has come as a big jolt to the Kerala unit of the party, which has opposed any kind of electoral understanding with Congress. Congress leaders said that the extent of the devastation could have been reduced if not avoided totally if the state leadership of the party had not adopted an adamant stand against party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s line for electoral adjustments with their party.

          

Barring one, entire members from the state rallied behind the alternate line presented by former general secretary Prakash Karat. The Yechury line was rejected by 55-31 vote in the central committee meeting held at Kolkata in January this year.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesman Joseph Vazhakkan said the CPM could have checked the saffron surge if it was ready to take his party on board in the fight against the BJP. This shows that the CPM is not interested in fighting the BJP but keen to pursue their blind anti-Congress approach.   

“We had taken a soft approach towards the CPM in Tripura as we regarded BJP as the main enemy. We could have mobilized the anti-incumbency votes of the CPM if we had opposed the Manik Sarkar government as BJP did. Our stand cost us heavily. We have learnt our lesson and the CPM in the state will feel it in the coming days,” he added.

The KPCC spokesman said the plight of the CPM in the state too will be same if they do not realize the ground realities and rally behind secular parties to fight the BJP and its communal agenda. Pinarayi Vijayan will be the last communist chief minister in the country as BJP chief Amit Shah predicted if they are not ready to adjust to the realities, he added.

Political observers think that the Tripura result will force the Kerala unit of the CPM to do a rethinking on its stand. Indications in this regard have already come when the party secretary in Ernakulam said that the CPM may have to think of strategies to contain the BJP surge without affecting it support base in the state.

Veteran CPM leader V S Achuthanandan, who had backed the Yechury line, said that the Left parties alone cannot fight the BJP. He called for broader front comprising all secular parties to take on the saffron party.

CPM Ernakulam district secretary P Rajeev also supported it. He said that there was need to work out a joint strategy to check the BJP without affecting the party’s support base in Kerala.

Political commentator Jacob George said that the Tripura result will force the Kerala unit of the CPM to rethink its stand. He told the South Indian Post that a sizeable section of the CPM cadres was upset with the adamant stand taken by the state leadership.

He said that the state leadership of CPM was under the notion that they could continue in power by weakening the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF). As part of this strategy, they have been wooing the UDF constituents.

While the party has already weaned the Janata Dal (U) way from the UDF, it is trying to bring the Kerala Congress (M) which quit the alliance in the wake of the Assembly polls into the LDF fold before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 even forgoing its own campaign against the party chief K M Mani as the most corrupt politician Kerala has seen.

Jacob said these kinds of political gimmicks will not help the party to perpetuate its rule without addressing the basic issues affecting the people. He pointed out that the BJP had upstaged the CPM in Tripura by not playing communal card as they did in the Hindi belt but highlighting the backwardness of the state Tripura.

He said that the BJP had won the confidence of the people by presenting an alternate development agenda. He said that the same could be applicable in Kerala too as the LDF and the UDF, which have been ruling the state alternately for the last three decades, had failed to break the development jinx in the state.

Jacob said that there was strong resentment among a large section of the cadres about the adamant stand the state unit had taken on the political line. Many of them believe that it is part of the widening power equations in the party than based on the ground realities.

Jacob feels that the resentment will grow following the ignominious defeat the party has suffered in Tripura and may force the state leadership to change their stand. If they don’t, the CPM and the Congress will go on the Tripura way, he added.

The two dominant fronts have been taking BJP lightly thinking that it will not be able to sell its communal agenda in a state like Kerala which has a long secular tradition. They also took BJP lightly thinking it will affect the other.

But the Tripura result has forced them to change their view. Political observers said that if the parties will not read the message it will result in their extinction

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