Alarming crisis, says CPM meet on poll rout and rise of BJP

Alarming crisis, says CPM meet on poll rout and rise of BJP

Thiruvananthapuram: The leading ruling party in Kerala is coming to terms with its Lok Sabha poll debacle as it realises the role the Sabarimala agitation played in eroding its base. The state unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has admitted that the faithful had gone against the party, thus handing the Left Democratic Front (LDF) its worst defeat in Kerala’s history. Strangely, the row over Sabarimala women's entry was not spelled out as the reason for the poll rout in a report submitted by CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan to the state committee during a meet to review the election defeat.

The CPI(M) admitted that political opponents could to alienate believers of all religions from the LDF which could only win only the Alappuzha constituency out of the 20 in the state.

However, Sabarimala was the main talking point during the meet. There were arguments supporting and countering the government's decision to implement the Supreme Court order that allowed women of all age groups to enter the temple.

The meet will continue on Saturday.

What next?

The committee agreed that course corrective measures had to be immediately taken.

The report pointed out that the LDF failed to address the concerns of the faithful and that the Left party should be more proactive in such matters in the future.

The report also said the LDF government and the party were ready to make corrections in governance and at the organisational level.

Party stand on temple issue fine

At the meet it was widely said the Sabarimala row helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make gains and that the situation was alarming.

The meet agreed that the political stand taken by the government was not wrong, but there were varied opinions on the manner in which the SC order was implemented.

Analysis of certain constituencies proved that the traditional voters of the CPM had favoured the BJP in the LS polls. As even the votes from party families went to the BJP, it was clear the government’s stand was not properly communicated even within the party and the LDF. Such a situation arose even when a record number of family gatherings (kudumba yogam) was held. When even the party was not able to reach out to its own workers, how can the common man be taken into its fold, the meet sought to know.

The report, however, categorically stated that the LDF government was duty-bound to implement the SC order on Sabarimala. The Left front has always stood for gender equality. The rival parties were able to misuse this and corner the LDF, it was pointed out.

Several members pointed out while the LDF stood by its stand on gender equality, the impact and interpretations of the volatile issue should also have been considered. It was pointed out that the government should have taken a more cautious approach while implementing the SC order.

Who gained?

The United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP made political gains out of the situation, and were able to create discord among the faithful, it was pointed out.

Several leaders agreed with the report's finding that though the BJP was not able to open account in Kerala, its attempts to sow the seeds of Hinduism in the state were apparent in the polls. The BJP's rise in certain constituencies was alarming, the meet noted. In these constituencies, the BJP was able to gain support even from traditionally Left voters.

The meet pinpointed on the defeats in Palakkad, Alathur and Attingal, considered to be LDF strongholds, as proof of this. The defeat in Alathur was dubbed as humiliating.

There were also demands to exclusively probe the reasons that led to the poll debacle in Palakkad. The report also said the party failed to anticipate that the ‘Modi fear’ among the electorate and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad would favour the UDF.

National issues were also taken up during the meet that was attended by state-central leaders, including general secretary Sitaram Yechury, politburo members Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai and M A Baby.