Blame game in Left over poor show in Kerala

By Sanu George,

Thiruvananthapuram : The Left parties have done well in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala compared to other states, but a blame game has begun within the two Communist parties in the state over the poll results and analysis.

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Kerala accounted for more than half of the Lok Sabha seats won by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the country. Five CPI-M candidates were elected from the state, while two each were elected from West Bengal and Tripura.

Besides this, two Independent candidates – supported by the Left – film actor Innocent and advocate Joice George – also won.

The CPI managed to win only the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, where C.N. Jayadevan defeated K.P. Dhanapalan of the Congress.

In the polls, the CPI-M secured 21.59 percent votes, the CPI got 7.59 percent while 31.1 percent of the votes went to the Congress.

Since the announcement of the election results, it has been an uneasy calm between the two Left parties in the state.

The first salvo came from CPI-M politburo member M.A. Baby, who lost from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency and informed his party that he wished to resign as a legislator from the Kundara assembly constituency as well.

His stand gave sleepless nights to the CPI-M leaders.

After discussing the issue at all levels, the state secretariat meeting held here with CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat in the chair Saturday dismissed Baby’s request, saying it would lead to bad precedence.

While the CPI-M meeting was going on, some party leaders attended a CPI national executive meeting in Delhi.

Leaders from Kerala blamed senior leader A.B. Bardhan and the party leadership for selecting the candidates. They especially targetted the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, where a political greenhorn and doctor Bennet Abraham with practically no political experience was fielded and lost the poll.

CPI state assistant secretary C.N. Chandran and former CPI parliamentarian K.E. Ismail Saturday went hammer and tongs in the meeting against Bardhan, forcing the veteran to walk out of it.

The Kerala unit of the CPI has also turned highly critical over the party’s decision to align with the Congress in the newly-formed Telengana in the assembly polls, as the alliance was politically used by the Congress to belittle the CPI during the Lok Sabha elections.

At the end of the meeting Saturday, CPI general secretary Sudhakara Reddy offered his apologies for the party’s poor show in the national election.

Even though the two Left parties put up a good show in the state, they rue that with a strong anti-Congress wave that swept the country, the Oommen Chandy-led Congress and its allies managed to get 12 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala.

The Congress won eight seats, one less than the highest in Karnataka – but the party got a total of only 44 seats, its lwoest tally in the Lok Sabha since Independence.

A look-back into the polls reveals that the Left parties started losing to the Congress from the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, followed by the 2010 local bodies polls, the 2011 assembly elections and the recent Lok Sabha polls.

The Left parties have to set their house in order. If not, things do not augur well for them.

(Sanu George can be contacted at [email protected])