The CPM state leadership under Pinarayi Vijayan—for Kodiyeri is just a titular head of the party—is blissfully unaware how the party has been alienated from the masses.
After blaming party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s “line” on Congress for CPM’s debacle in Kerala initially, the state unit of the party has come up with bizarre justifications on its rout in the southern state, the last Left bastion in the country.
The Kerala unit had maintained that it was hampered by Yechury’s decision to have an “understanding” with the Congress elsewhere. CPM is engaged in a direct fight with the Congress in Kerala. Still the party felt aggrieved when Congress president Rahul Gandhi decided to contest from Kerala, and, in fact, requested Gandhi not to do so. Gandhi reciprocated by promising not to “open his mouth” against the CPM in Kerala. However, Kerala CPM has conveniently overlooked the fact that the very alliance with the Congress as part of the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu had enabled the party to win two seats and just about manage to retain its national status.
As per the findings of the state committee, everything is fine with the party and the leadership in the state. The blame squarely lies at the doorstep of the people who voted against CPM in the general election.
Some of the salient points of the findings revealed to the press by CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan are like this:
* The people accepted LDF’s campaign to remove BJP from power, but went and voted for the UDF.
* The people believed in the campaign that only Congress will be in a position to stake claim at the Centre and hence all anti-BJP votes went in favour of the UDF.
* People blindly believed the media campaign that it was a fight between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and voted for the Congress.
* Even genuine supporters of CPM went and voted for the UDF in the hope that Congress would be in a position to take on the BJP at the national level.
* After some “stray, isolated” incidents of political killing, people thought that CPM represented “murder politics”, which, incidentally the party abandoned at the last party congress, and hence voted against it.
* Sabarimala, to a certain extent, impacted the elections, but then again, people were “misguided” by right-wing elements.
* CPM was absolutely right in constructing a women’s wall in support of its actions at Sabarimala, but even those who participated in the wall thought otherwise on the day of polling.
Since the party is above individuals, the allegations that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s style of functioning has had its share for the downfall of the party were brushed aside as “immaterial”.
CPM, after all, is different from bourgeois parties like the Congress where its leader “Rahul Gandhi had to go into hiding after the defeat. Vijayan need not change his style,” Kodiyeri explained, even reminding newspersons that the party had in the past won many an election under Vijayan’s leadership.
Kodiyeri conveniently didn’t mention the contribution of veteran V.S. Achuthanandan in those victories of the past. The “Kerala Castro”, as Yechury referred to Achuthanandan after the 2016 Assembly elections, in a bid to placate the old warhorse who was hurt by the party’s decision not to make him Chief Minister, was conspicuously absent from the campaign this time.
It seems that the CPM state leadership under Pinarayi Vijayan—for Kodiyeri is just a titular head of the party—is blissfully unaware how the party has been alienated from the masses. If the party had any feel of the pulse of the people, it would not have fielded former Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan from, of all places, Vadakara. The party showed scant respect for the people of that area, where the birthplace of slain CPM dissident T.P. Chandrashekharan is located, when it hailed Jayarajan, accused in two sensational murders in the Malabar area, as the “living example of political violence”.
Jayarajan’s one hand has been incapacitated following an attempt on his life by RSS workers years ago. But the party seldom admits that Jayarajan is one of the main accused in the murder of an RSS worker, who took part in the attack against him. Jayarajan’s son had even a Facebook post on his name hailing the murder as “a revolutionary act”.
Obviously, the CPM leadership in the state gives the impression that it does not care what people think about the party; in fact, Pinarayi Vijayan had famously said that people do not know a thing about the party.
Look at the way the party fielded actor Innocent against from Chalakkudy against all adverse reports from the constituency. Here was an MP seeking re-election from the constituency he ignored at the time of the August deluge. But the party thrust him upon the people of Chalakkudy who gave a reply this time.
Same was the case of Veena George, a Christian Orthodox and sitting CPM MLA from Aranmula, who was fielded from Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala is situated, as if there were no other deserving woman party worker from the area. The so-called secular party was “eyeing” the Christian Orthodox vote in order to counter BJP’s Hindu votes.
If the CPM leadership in the state thinks that the Lok Sabha result was just an aberration—Vijayan termed it as “temporary”—and the people will rush back to its fold, it is consciously refusing to read the writing on the wall. It looks like the party is adamant to repeat a West Bengal in Kerala.