Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM is all set to launch a party-level probe into the Assembly election-related allegations against former minister G Sudhakaran from next week. Sudhakaran is accused of adopting a lackadaisical attitude in the campaigning at Ambalapuzha constituency during the 2021 polls.
Incidentally, the former minister had won from the seat in the 2016 elections. In the latest polls, the CPM had not fielded Sudhakaran citing a ban on candidates who had won two successive terms from a constituency. Still, the party retained Ambalapuzha, even though with a reduced majority.
An inquiry commission comprising CPM’s central committee member Elamaram Kareem and state secretariat member K J Thomas will examine the issue and is expected to file its report in two months before the start of the next state committee meeting.
Meanwhile, the party’s central committee meeting is scheduled towards the end of this month, followed by the state committee meeting. As per the procedures followed by the CPM, all party-level inquiries and disciplinary actions are either completed before the meetings or delayed till the end of these events. As a result, the district-level inquiries too would be closed quickly.
Even though complaints have been received regarding the lapses by local-level leaders and units at several other constituencies, Ambalapuzha assumes significance as the person facing charges is Sudhakaran, a senior leader and state committee member.
The party does not believe Sudhakaran’s supporters voted against CPM. However, a comparison of the votes polled by various parties in the 2016 and 2021 elections reveals some interesting aspects. In 2016, Sudhakaran had secured 63,069 votes, while in 2021 H Salam of the CPM collected only 61,635 votes. Incidentally, in 2016, Sudhakaran’s United Democratic Front (UDF) rival was Sheik P Harris of the LJD, which supported the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in 2021.
While Sheik had obtained 40,448 votes in 2016, M Liju of the Congress steeply increased the tally of the UDF to 50,240 in 2021. In short, the UDF candidate secured 9,792 additional votes and the CPM’s majority registered a significant fall of 12,469 votes.
More interestingly, the difference between the votes won by the BJP in 2016 and 2021 was a mere 391 votes. From these figures, it is evident that a large number of voters who chose Sudhakaran in 2016 opted for the Congress candidate in 2021.
But, before the 2021 elections, the state secretariat had discussed the issue of fall in CPM votes in constituencies where senior leaders were replaced based on the two-term norm. So, it is pointed out that the main issue at Ambalapuzha is not the fall in CPM votes but the half-hearted approach of Sudhakaran during the campaign phase.
Meanwhile, Sudhakaran has been keeping away from several party events. He was absent at the state committee convened to discuss the Cabinet formation citing Ayurveda treatment and also at the district committee meeting that followed.