Kottayam: It looks like the CPM in Kerala has already found an alibi if its candidate Jaick C Thomas loses in the Puthuppally bypoll: A subterranean BJP-Congress tie-up.
CPM state secretary M V Govindan on Saturday hinted that the BJP and the Congress could have struck a secret pact to defeat the CPM.
"At this point, I cannot speculate on the nature of the understanding. But if the BJP does not secure the votes it had last time, then it is clear that there was an underhand deal," Govindan told reporters at Puthuppally.
In 2021, the BJP candidate had secured 8.87 per cent of the votes polled. This was a fall of 3.06 per cent from 11.93 in 2016 when George Kurien was the BJP candidate. The 2016 vote share was also the highest ever by a BJP candidate in Puthuppally.
In 2021, too, when the BJP votes fell by 3 per cent and even though Chandy had a nearly 7 per cent lead over Jaick, the CPM had raised the allegation that the BJP votes had gone to Oommen Chandy.
The fact is, before 2016, the BJP votes in the constituency hovered in the 4-5 per cent range.
Here is why Govindan suspects a secret BJP-Congress deal. "Both the BJP and the Congress have declared the CPM as their enemy number one in Kerala. The BJP has nothing to gain in this election. So they might well help the Congress to undermine the CPM."
Further, the CPM state secretary said the Congress in Kerala was silently supporting the Centre's anti-Kerala moves. As an example, he cited the indifference of the UDF MPs. "They are not only unwilling to say anything against the Centre but have not even bothered to sign a joint memorandum to be submitted to the Union finance minister detailing Kerala's grievances," Govindan said.
Nonetheless, the CPM state secretary said the CPM would win. "We will end the Congress dominance in Puthuppally," he said. Govindan even declared that the byelection would be an assessment of the Pinarayi Vijayan government. "Any such election would definitely be a verdict on the performance of the government," he said.
The state secretary said that, initially, the Congress had thought that the election would be a walkover. "But we veered the election from emotions to politics and development," Govindan said.