Not the result for the work we did, says Kodiyeri on Thrikkakara bypoll drubbing

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

Unlike minister P Rajeeve and CPM State Secretariat M Swaraj, who led the CPM campaign in Thrikkakara, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was realistic in his assessment of the party's failure in the by-election.

"It is true that our votes have increased (when compared to the 2021 Assembly polls). But if the work we did in the constituency is taken into account, this was not enough," Kodiyeri told reporters after the CPM State Committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Both Rajeeve and Swaraj, on the other hand, had sounded self-satisfied that the CPM candidate this time could increase the votes polled from 45,510 in 2021 to 47,754 this time, an increase of 2244 votes.

Kodiyeri was even humble in defeat. "We will take the next step fully respecting the people's mandate," the CPM secretary said. "The big surge we expected in Thrikkakara could not be made. We will study this in detail and make the necessary corrections," Kodieyri said.

He then made a remark that rarely comes from a top CPM leader. "According to the party's assessment, this verdict is also a warning to function in a more careful manner." When he was asked to elaborate, Kodiyeri gave a loaded reply: "Everything is included in what I have said."

It also did not look like Kodiyeri shared the opinion of other top leaders like Pinarayi Vijayan that Congress was on its deathbed. He seemed to accord the Congress some respect. "You cannot underestimate the influence of the Congress. There are 30-odd seats in Kerala where they can win. Thrikkakara is one such seat. Both the UDF and LDF have such sure seats in Kerala," he said.

Nonetheless, Kodiyeri said that the decrease in the BJP votes this time and the decision of political outfits like Twenty-20 to stay away from the polls this time could have worked to the advantage of the UDF candidate.

He said the BJP's votes fell to 12,995 from 15,483 in the 2021 Assembly polls. In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had secured 21,247 votes. "This shows that there has been an incremental reduction in BJP votes in the constituency, a development that is benefiting the UDF," Kodiyeri said.

Will CPM go ahead with SilverLine?

He dismissed the UDF contention that this election was all about K-Rail. "K-Rail was a factor during the last Assembly polls, not this one. And we had won 99 seats in the last Assembly polls. K-Rail has nothing to do with the result of this byelection," he said and added: "The government will go ahead with the SilverLine project if it gets all the necessary sanctions."

Opposition leader V D Satheesan had said that the LDF government should drop the SilverLine project in light of the Thrikkakara verdict.

Test of LDF government's popularity

Kodiyeri could not have escaped the question of whether the verdict was an evaluation of the Pinarayi government. He himself had earlier said it would be. 

According to Kodiyeri, the LDF government had indeed passed the test. "Had the number of votes for the LDF candidate decreased, it could have perhaps been said so. But the LDF votes had only gone up," he said."Winning is not the only thing that matters. Increasing the vote share too matters," he added.

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