Erosion in Kerala vote base worries CPM

Erosion in Kerala vote base worries CPM

By ABHIMANYU SINGH | NEW DELHI | 19 September, 2015
Party faces tough battle in Assembly election next year.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is gearing up for a tough fight in net year's Assembly elections. Sources in the CPM, which lost the polls the last time to the Congress-led UDF alliance, admitted that it was going to be a "very tough" election.

The party is worried about the erosion in its main voter, 80% of which comprises the Ezhava community, a "lower-caste" grouping. CPM leaders have been objecting at attempts by the Sree Narayan Guru Dharma Paripalna Yogam (SNDP), an Ezhava organisation, to move closer to the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP had also raised its vote-share in the last byelections held in the state.

"The BJP is an active party, which is in government at the Centre. Naturally, they will make an attempt to expand their base. However, it remains to be seen if its gains can lead to electoral victories," said a senior CPM leader. The BJP did not win any Assembly seats the last time, nor did it win any seats in the state in the general elections last year.

The CPM found itself in trouble after a tableau it took out on Janmashtami showed Ezhava guru Sree Narayan Guru as being crucified by two men. 

Recently, the CPM found itself in trouble after a tableau it took out on Janmashtami showed Ezhava guru Sree Narayan Guru as being crucified by two men. The party has officially accepted its mistake on the issue. "When SNDP members protested against the tableau at our office, S. Ramachandran Pillai (Politburo member) assured them that it was not our intention to hurt the Ezhava community," the leader said.

The party's woes may be further compounded with the recent release of a film about rebel CPM leader T.P. Chandrashekharan who was stabbed to death. The CPM has been linked to the murder, although the party has always denied it. "Let them show it. We have nothing to do with the matter," a senior CPM leader at the central level said.

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